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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims For Jobless Insurance Are Unchanged
by Tom Moeller  August 30, 2012

Initial claims for unemployment insurance held at 374,000 (-8.1% y/y) during the week ended August 25. The prior week was revised up from 372,000. Consensus expectations were for a decline to 370,000 during last week. The four-week moving average of claims again inched up to 370,250, its highest level in six weeks.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance slipped to 3.316M (-11.0% y/y) during the week of August 18. 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 August 11, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients again fell sharply to a recovery low of 5.532M. The latest was down -24.6% y/y and was off by more than one-half from the peak in January 2010.

By state the insured unemployment rate continued to vary greatly with North Dakota (0.58%), Virginia (1.35%), Indiana (1.68%), Texas (1.72%), Ohio (1.72%), Louisiana (1.90%), Georgia (1.99%) and Florida (2.07%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Wisconsin (2.84%), Nevada (2.99%), New York (3.05%), California (3.37%), Alaska (3.61%), Connecticut (3.61%), New Jersey (3.76%) and Pennsylvania (3.87%).

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) 08/25/12 08/18/12 08/11/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 374 374 369 -8.1 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,316 3,321 -11.0 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) -- -- 5.532M -24.6 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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