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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Jobless Insurance Depressed by Hurricane Sandy
by Tom Moeller  November 8, 2012

Hurricane Sandy closed offices and created power shortages that left individuals unable to file claims for unemployment insurance. Initial jobless insurance claims fell to 355,000 in the week ended November 3 from 363,000 the week earlier. The four week moving average was at a reduced 370,500. Consensus expectations were for 370,000 claims for last week.

Continuing claims in the week ended October 27 also were depressed to 3.127M (-14.2% y/y). The insured rate of unemployment fell to 2.4%. This particular count covers only "regular" programs and does not include all extended benefit and other specialized jobless insurance programs. In the week of October 20, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients rose slightly w/w to 5.077M. The latest was down by one-quarter 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 (1.52%), Texas (1.53%), Ohio (1.56%), Tennessee (1.64%), Louisiana (1.68%), Florida (1.81%) and Michigan (2.13%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (2.49%), Illinois (2.54%), New York (2.62%), Nevada (2.71%), Connecticut (2.99%), New Jersey (3.12%), California (3.18%) 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

Estimated Rules for Monetary Policy from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 11/03/12 10/27/12 10/20/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 355 363 372 -8.5 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,127 3,262 -14.2 3,745 4,544 5,807
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.4 2.5 2.9
3.0 3.6 4.4
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 5.077M -25.7 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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