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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Move Higher
by Tom Moeller  December 20, 2012

For the first time in five weeks, initial claims for jobless insurance rose. Claims increased 17,000 during the week ended December 15 to 361,000 from 344,000 in the prior period, initially reported as 343,000. Consensus expectations were for 354,000 claims. The four week moving average dropped to 367,750. The latest claims figure covers the survey period for December nonfarm payrolls; claims fell 30,000 (-7.5%) from November. During the last ten years there has been a 74% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended December 8 rose to 3.225M (-9.8% 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 December 1, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients fell w/w to 5.402M. 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 (1.29%), Texas (1.56), Florida (1.68%), Indiana (1.70%), Tennessee (1.71%), Ohio (1.89%) and Michigan (2.64%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (2.85%), New York (2.95%), Illinois (2.97%), Connecticut (3.22%), California (3.33%), New Jersey (3.86%) and Pennsylvania (3.88%).

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) 12/15/12 12/08/12 12/01/12 Y/Y % 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 361 344 371 -2.4 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,225 3,213 -9.8 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) -- -- 5.402M -24.5 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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