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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Jobless Insurance Claims Plummet
by Tom Moeller  October 11, 2012

Initial claims for jobless insurance fell sharply to 339,000 during the week ended October 6 versus a revised 369,000 during the prior week, initially reported as 367,000. Consensus expectations were for 368,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims fell to 364,000.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance slipped to 3.273M (-11.1% y/y) during the week of September 29. 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 22, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients again fell to a recovery low of 5.045M. The latest was down -26.0% 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 (1.25%), Indiana (1.48%), Ohio (1.56%), Texas (1.58%), Louisiana (1.76%), Georgia (1.87%), Florida (1.94%) and Michigan (2.07%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (2.45%), Illinois (2.56%), New York (2.64%), Nevada (2.73%), Connecticut (2.95%), New Jersey (3.14%, California (3.14%) and Pennsylvania (3.21%).

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) 10/06/12 09/29/12 09/22/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 339 369 363 -15.7 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,273 3,288 -11.1 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) -- -- -- -25.8 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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