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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Rise
by Tom Moeller  August 2, 2012

Initial unemployment insurance claims matched expectations and rose to 365,000 during the week ended July 28 from 357,000 during the prior week, revised from 353,000. The four-week moving average of claims fell to 365,500, its lowest since March 2008. During the last ten years there has been a 72% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell w/w to 3.272M (-12.4% y/y) during the week of July 21, just above their lowest in 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 14, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients slipped to 5.965M, down -21.2% y/y and down 50% from the peak in January 2010.

By state the insured unemployment rate continued to vary greatly with North Dakota (0.66%), Virginia (1.39%), Texas (1.76%), Indiana (1.83%), Ohio (1.85%), Florida (2.06%), and Georgia (2.08%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Illinois (3.03%), Nevada (3.19%), New York (3.20%), California (3.58%), Connecticut (3.68%), New Jersey (3.84%) and Pennsylvania (4.08%).

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) 07/28/12 07/21/12 07/14/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 365 357 388 -9.2 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,272 3,291 -12.4 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) -- -- 5.965 -21.2 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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