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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Slip
by Tom Moeller  June 7, 2012

Initial claims for unemployment insurance totaled 377,000 during the week of June 2 compared to 389,000 during the week prior, revised up from 383,000. Consensus expectations were for 380,000 new filings. The four-week moving average of initial claims ticked up to 377,750. During the last ten years there has been a 74% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance increased to 3.293M during the week of May 26. The insured rate of unemployment held at 2.6% where it's been for the last eleven weeks. This particular count covers only "regular" programs and does not include all extended benefit and other specialized jobless insurance programs. In the week of May 19, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients fell further to 5.971M, down -21.5% y/y and down 50% from the peak in January 2010.

By state, the insured unemployment rate varied greatly with North Dakota (0.54%) at the low end along with Virginia (1.33%), Texas (1.53%), Florida (1.81%) and Georgia (1.97%). At the high end of the range were Illinois (2.96%), Connecticut (3.22%), New Jersey (3.31%), California (3.38%) and Pennsylvania (3.49%).

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 survey estimates are in AS1REPNA.

Economic Outlook and Policy is today's testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and it can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 06/02/12 05/26/12 05/19/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 377 389 373 -11.3 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,293 3,259 -11.4 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) -- -- 5.971M -21.5 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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