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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Jobless Insurance Claims Rise
by Tom Moeller  October 4, 2012

Initial claims for jobless insurance rose to 367,000 during the week ended September 29 versus a revised 363,000 during the prior week, initially reported as 359,000. Consensus expectations were for 370,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims was unchanged at  375,000.

During the last ten years there has been a 75% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls. Consensus expectations are for a 120,000 rise in September payrolls to be reported tomorrow. 

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance were unchanged at 3.281M (-11.3% y/y) during the week of September 22. 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 15, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients again fell to a recovery low of 5.089M. The latest was down -25.8% 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 (1.21%), Ohio (1.54), Texas (1.56%), Indiana (1.60%), Louisiana (1.81%), Georgia (1.89%), Florida (1.91%) and Michigan (1.94%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (2.45%), Illinois (2.56%), New York (2.63%), Nevada (2.77%), Connecticut (2.98%), New Jersey (3.19%, Pennsylvania (3.22%) and California (3.25%).

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) 09/29/12 09/22/12 09/15/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 367 363 385 -8.7 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,281 3,281 -11.3 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) -- -- 5.089M -25.8 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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