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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims For Unemployment Insurance Tick Higher
by Tom Moeller November 23, 2011

Initial claims for jobless insurance rose last week to 393,000 from 391,000 (revised from 388,000) during the week prior. Expectations had been for 390,000 in the Action Economics survey. The 4-week moving average of claims fell to 394,250, its lowest since early-April. During the last ten years there has been a 75% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose to 3.691M in the November 12th week, again their lowest of the economic recovery. The insured unemployment rate held at 2.9% for the fifth straight week.

The grand total of those receiving unemployment insurance, including extended programs run by the states and the federal government, was 6.729M (-21.1% y/y) as of November 5th. Regular extended benefits, with eligibility dependent on conditions in individual states, rose to 555,256 (-35.7% y/y) and those on the special "EUC 2008" programs rose to 2.897M (-23.8% y/y).

Data on weekly unemployment insurance programs are contained in Haver's WEEKLY database, including the seasonal factor series, and they are summarized monthly in USECON. Data for individual states, including the unemployment rates that determine individual state eligibility for the extended benefits programs and specific "tiers" of the emergency program, are in REGIONW, a database of weekly data for states and various regional divisions. Action Economics estimates are in AS1REPNA.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 11/19/11 11/12/11 11/5/11 Y/Y% 2010 2009 2008
Initial Claims 393 391 393 -5.5 461 577 413
Continuing Claims -- 3,691 3,623 -12.7 4,544 5,807 3,338
 Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.9 2.9 3.4
3.6 4.4 2.5
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 6.729 -21.2 9.850M 9.163M 3.903M
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