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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims For Unemployment Insurance Fall
by Tom Moeller  February 2, 2012

The downtrend in jobless insurance claims remains intact. That was indicated by another decline in initial claims for unemployment insurance. Last week they fell to 367,000 from 379,000 (revised from 377,000). Claims averaged 376,000 (-12.6% y/y) during the last four weeks, down from 430,000 during January, 2010 and were the lowest since June, 2008. Expectations had been for 370,000 claims in the Action Economics survey.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell sharply to 3.437M during the week of January 21. Claims also were their lowest since 2008. The insured rate of unemployment rate slipped to 2.7%, 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 14th week, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients fell to 7.670 mil. (-17.5% y/y).

By state, the insured unemployment rate varied as of January 14 with Virginia (1.7%), Texas (1.8%), Florida (1.9%), Arizona (2.3%), Tennessee (2.5%), Indiana (2.7% and Ohio (2.8%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were rates in North Carolina (3.4%), New York (3.6%),  Connecticut (3.7%), California (4.0%), Michigan (4.0%), New Jersey (4.3%), and Pennsylvania (5.0%).

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) 01/28/12 01/21/12 01/14/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 367 379 355 -13.4 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,437 3,567 -13.5 3,745 4,544 5,807
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.7 2.8 3.2
3.0 3.6 4.4
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 7.670M -17.5 2.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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