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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Trend Up but Slip W/W
by Tom Moeller  September 20, 2012

The four-week moving average of initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 377,750 last week, its highest level since late-June. On a weekly basis,initial jobless insurance claims fell to 382,000 during the week ended September 15 versus a revised 385,000 during the prior week. Consensus expectations were for a decline to 370,000 during last week.

The latest claims figure covers the survey period for September nonfarm payrolls. Claims rose 8,000 (2.1%) from the August period. During the last ten years there has been a 75% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell to 3.272M (-12.0% y/y) during the week of September 8. 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 September 1, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients again fell sharply to a recovery low of 5.174M. The latest was down -24.9% y/y and was off by more than one-half since the peak in January 2010.

By state the insured unemployment rate continued to vary greatly with Virginia (1.20%), Indiana (1.54%), Texas (1.59%), Ohio (1.58%), Louisiana (1.76%), Florida (1.90%), Georgia (1.93%) and Michigan (2.04%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Illinois (2.58%), Massachusetts (2.70%), Nevada (2.93%), New York (3.00%), California (3.06%), Connecticut (3.26%), Pennsylvania (3.46%) and New Jersey (3.64%).

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) 09/15/12 09/08/12 09/01/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 382 385 367 -8.4 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,272 3,304 -12.0 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) -- -- 5.174M -24.9 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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