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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Fall Back
by Tom Moeller  July 26, 2012

Bona fide job market improvement was more in evidence last week. Initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped back to 353,000 during the week ended July 21st from 388,000 during the prior week, revised from 386,000. The decline reversed the earlier week's rebound. Consensus expectations were for 380,000 new claims. The four-week moving average of claims fell to 367,250, its lowest since late-March.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell w/w to 3.287M (-11.5% y/y) during the week of July 14, their lowest since mid-May. The insured rate of unemployment held steady at 2.6% where it's been since March. This particular count covers only "regular" programs and does not include all extended benefit and other specialized jobless insurance programs. In the week of July 7, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients rose to 6.034M, down -21.1% y/y and down 50% from the peak in January 2010.

By state the insured unemployment rate varied greatly with Nebraska (1.45%), Virginia (1.48%), Texas (1.70%), Ohio (1.88%), Indiana (1.93%), Florida (2.06%), and Georgia (2.31%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Illinois (2.90%), Nevada (3.21%), California (3.44%), Alaska (3.71%), Connecticut (3.74%), Pennsylvania (3.87%) and New Jersey (3.89%).

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.


Unemployment Insurance (000s) 07/21/12 07/14/12 07/07/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 353 388 352 -12.2 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,287 3,317 -11.5 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) -- -- 6.034M -21.1 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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