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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Fall Back
by Tom Moeller  September 27, 2012

Initial claims for jobless insurance fell to 359,000 during the week ended September 22 versus a revised 385,000 during the prior week. The latest was the lowest since the third week of July. The four-week moving average of initial claims slipped to 374,000 last week. Consensus expectations were for 377,000 claims.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance slipped to 3.271M (-12.2% y/y) during the week of September 15. 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 8, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients again fell to a recovery low of 5.174M. The latest was down -25.9% 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 (1.24%), Indiana (1.54%), Ohio (1.58%), Texas (1.63%), Louisiana (1.84%), Georgia (1.96), Florida (1.98%) and Michigan (2.22%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (2.57%), Illinois (2.62%), New York (2.82%), Nevada (2.87%), Connecticut (3.10%), California (3.14%), Pennsylvania (3.43%) and New Jersey (3.53%).

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) 09/22/12 09/15/12 09/08/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 359 385 385 -8.7 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,271 3,275 -12.2 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 -25.9 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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