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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Decline After Storm's Effect
by Tom Moeller  December 13, 2012

Initial claims for jobless insurance fell further last week with the passage of Hurricane Sandy. Claims dropped during the week ended December 8 to 343,000 from 372,000 in the prior period, initially reported as 370,000. Consensus expectations were for 370,000 claims. The four week moving average dropped  to 381,500.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended December 1 fell to 3.198M (-11.4% y/y). The insured rate of unemployment held at 2.5%. 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 24, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients rose w/w to 5.643M. 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 (1.37%), Texas (1.67), Indiana (1.73%), Tennessee (1.77%), Ohio (1.86%), Florida (2.10%) and Michigan (2.65%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (2.87%), Illinois (2.91%), New York (3.10%), Nevada (3.24%), Connecticut (3.29%), California (3.50%) and New Jersey (4.47%).

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

Job Duration and the Cleansing and Sullying Effects of Recessions from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 12/08/12 12/01/12 11/24/12 Y/Y % 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 343 372 395 -7.5 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,198 3,221 -11.4 3,745 4,544 5,807
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.5 2.5 2.9
3.0 3.6 4.4
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 5.643M -24.3 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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