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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Remain Near Earlier High
by Tom Moeller  April 26, 2012

Initial unemployment insurance claims slipped 1,000 in the week ended April 21 to 388,000 from an upwardly revised 389,000 during the prior week, earlier reported as 386,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims rose to 381,750, its highest since early December. The latest weekly number compared to Consensus expectations for 375,000 claims.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance edged up to 3.315M during the week of April 14. The insured rate of unemployment held at 2.6% for the fifth straight week, the lowest since August 2008. This particular count covers only "regular" programs and does not include all extended benefit and other specialized jobless insurance programs. In the week of April 7, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients fell to 6.678M (-18.3% y/y).

By state, the insured unemployment rate varied greatly with Virginia (1.4%), Texas (1.5%), Florida (1.8%), Louisiana (1.9%), Tennessee (1.9%), Indiana (2.1%) and Arizona (2.2%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were rates in New York (3.1%), Massachusetts (3.3%), Michigan (3.3%), Connecticut (3.6%), California (3.8% ), New Jersey (3.8%), and Pennsylvania (3.9%).

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) 04/21/12 04/14/12 04/07/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 388 389 388 -8.9 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,315 3,312 -10.5 3,745 4,544 5,807
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.6 2.6 3.0
3.0 3.6 4.4
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 6.678M -18.3 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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