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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Inch Higher
by Tom Moeller  August 16, 2012

Initial unemployment insurance claims rose to 366,000 during the week ended August 11 from 364,000 during the prior week, revised from 361,000. A slip in claims to 363,000 had been expected. The four-week moving average of claims fell sharply to 363,750. 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 3.305M (-10.9% y/y) during the week of August 4. The insured rate of unemployment remained  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 28, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients fell sharply to a recovery low of 5.681M, down -22.6% y/y and down more than 50% from the peak in January 2010.

By state the insured unemployment rate continued to vary greatly with South Dakota (0.50%), Virginia (1.35%), Ohio (1.72%), Texas (1.76%), Indiana (1.80%), Georgia (2.00%) and Florida (2.07%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Illinois (2.98%), Nevada (3.11%), New York (3.15%), California (3.49%), Connecticut (3.60%), New Jersey (3.80%) and Pennsylvania (3.92%).

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) 08/11/12 08/04/12 07/28/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 366 364 368 -10.3 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,305 3,336 -10.9 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) -- --  5.681M -22.6 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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