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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Back Up
by Tom Moeller  June 14, 2012

The recent slow pace of labor market improvement has eased some more. That's the message from the rise in initial claims for unemployment insurance to 386,000 during the week of June 9 from 380,000 in the prior week, revised up from 377,000. Consensus expectations were for 375,000 new filings during last week. A surer sign that the rate of job market has slowed was the rise in the four-week moving average of initial claims to 382,000 from May's 376,000 average. 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 fell to 3.278M during the week of June 2. The insured rate of unemployment held at 2.6% where it's been for the last twelve 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 26, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients fell further to 5.825M, down -21.3% y/y and down 50% from the peak in January 2010.

By state, the insured unemployment rate varied greatly with North Dakota (0.61%) at the low end along with Virginia (1.32%), Texas (1.58%), Ohio (1.70%, Florida (1.86%) and Georgia (2.02%). At the high end of the range were Connecticut (3.19%), California (3.26%), New Jersey (3.31%), Illinois (3.35%) and Pennsylvania (3.48%).

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.

Structural and Cyclical Economic Factors from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 06/09/12 06/02/12 05/26/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 386 380 389 -7.7 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,278 3,311 -11.7 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) -- -- 5.825M -21.3 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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