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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Move Higher
by Tom Moeller December 1, 2011

Initial claims for jobless insurance rose last week to 402,000 from 396,000 (revised from 393,000) during the week prior. Expectations had been for 390,000 in the Action Economics survey. The 4-week moving average of claims held roughly steady at 395,750, still near 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 3.740M in the November 19th week. The insured unemployment rate ticked up to 3.0%.; By state, the rate varied as of November 12th with Virginia (1.4%), New Hampshire (1.7%), Texas (1.8%), Indiana (2.0%), Tennessee (2.0%), Minnesota (2.1%), and Florida (2.1%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were rates in Illinois (3.1%), South Carolina (3.2%), Nevada (3.4%), Connecticut (3.5%), New Jersey (3.6%), California (3.7%) and Pennsylvania (3.7%).

The grand total of those receiving unemployment insurance, including extended programs run by the states and the federal government, was 7.005M (-21.1% y/y) as of November 12th. 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) 11/26/11 11/19/11 11/12/11 Y/Y% 2010 2009 2008
Initial Claims 402 396 392 -3.4 461 577 413
Continuing Claims -- 3,740 3,705 -12.5 4,544 5,807 3,338
 Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 3.0 2.9 3.4
3.6 4.4 2.5
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 7.005M -21.4 9.850M 9.163M 3.903M
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