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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Jobless Insurance Jump Following Hurricane Sandy
by Tom Moeller  November 15, 2012

With the passage of Hurricane Sandy, initial claims for unemployment insurance surged. The Department of Labor indicated that gains in several states caused initial claims for unemployment insurance to jump to 439,000 in the week ended November 10 from an upwardly revised 361,000 during the week earlier. The four week moving average was 383,750. Consensus expectations were for 369,000 claims for last week.

Continuing claims in the week ended November 3 rose sharply to 3.334M (-7.9% y/y). The insured rate of unemployment increased to 2.6%, its highest level since late September. 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 27, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients fell w/w to 5.077M, nearly the cycle low. 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 (1.18%), Texas (1.51%), Indiana (1.58%), Ohio (1.58%), Tennessee (1.61%), Louisiana (1.66%), Florida (1.79%) and Michigan (2.07%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (2.49%), New York (2.55%), Illinois (2.61%), Nevada (2.73%), New Jersey (2.75%), California (2.98%), Pennsylvania (2.98%) and Connecticut (3.04%).

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

The minutes to the latest meeting of the FOMC can be found here.


Unemployment Insurance (000s) 11/10/12 11/03/12 10/27/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 439 361 363 12.0 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,334 3,163 -7.9 3,745 4,544 5,807
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) --  2.6 2.5 2.9
3.0 3.6 4.4
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 4.978M -26.5 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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