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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims For Jobless Insurance Move Slightly Higher
by Tom Moeller  January 26, 2012

First-time claims for jobless insurance rose last week but the recent trend lower remained intact. Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 377,000 last week from 356,000 during the previous period (revised from 352,000). Claims averaged 430,000 during January, one year ago. Expectations had been for 370,000 claims in the Action Economics survey. The 4-week moving average slipped to 377,500.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose 88,000 to 3.554M during the week of January 14. That followed a 181,000 decline the prior week. The insured unemployment rate ticked up to 2.8% but remained near the recovery low. This particular count covers only "regular" programs and does not include all extended benefit and other specialized jobless insurance programs. In the January 7th week, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients fell to 7.638 mil. (-18.8% y/y).

By state, the insured unemployment rate varied as of January 7 with Virginia (1.8%), Texas (1.9%), Florida (2.0%), Arizona (2.4%), Tennessee (2.6%), Ohio (2.8%) and Indiana (2.9%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were rates in North Carolina (3.5%), New York (3.6%),  California (4.0%), Connecticut (4.2%), New Jersey (4.3%), Michigan (4.6%) and  Pennsylvania (4.8%).

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 consensus estimates are in AS1REPNA.

Unemployment Insurance(000s) 01/21/12 01/14/12 01/07/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 377 356 402 -14.9 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,554 3,466 -11.6 3,745 4,544 5,807
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.8 2.7 3.2
(1/11)
3.0 3.6 4.4
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 7.638M -18.8 2.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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