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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Decline As Sandy's Impact Eases
by Tom Moeller  November 29, 2012

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell again last week as Hurricane Sandy had less of an increasing effect on filings. Claims fell during the week ended November 24 to an expected 393,000 from 416,000 in the prior period, initially reported as 410,000. The four week moving average rose to 405,250, its highest in just over one year.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended November 17 fell to 3.287M (-11.5% y/y). The insured rate of unemployment held at 2.6%, up from 2.5% averaged during October. This particular count covers only "regular" programs and does not include all extended benefit and other specialized jobless insurance programs. In the week of November 10, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients fell w/w to 5.183M, the highest level since late August. Nevertheless, the latest figure was down 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 (1.22%), Texas (1.50%), Indiana (1.53%), Tennessee (1.63%), Ohio (1.68%), Florida (1.74%) and Michigan (2.25%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (2.60%), Illinois (2.64%), Nevada (2.82%), New York (2.94%), California (2.94%), Connecticut (3.20%) and New Jersey (4.15%).

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

Labor Market Anxiety and the Downward Trend in the Job Separation Rate from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia can be found here.


Unemployment Insurance (000s) 11/24/12 11/17/12 11/10/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 393 416 451 -1.5 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,287 3,357 -11.5 3,745 4,544 5,807
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.6 2.6 2.9
3.0 3.6 4.4
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 5.183M -26.0 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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