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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Fall Again
by Tom Moeller  February 14, 2013

The job market is on the road to recovery. Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 341,000 (-5.5% y/y) during the week ended February 9 versus a revised 368,000 a week earlier, reported initially as 366,000. Consensus expectations were for 360,000 claims. The four week moving average of claims ticked up to 352,500, still near the low for the economic recovery. During the last ten years, there has been a 75% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended February 2 fell to 3.114M (-9.6% y/y). The four week moving average of continuing claims dropped to 3.187M., a new recovery low. The insured rate of unemployment also continued its downward trend and declined to 2.4%, the lowest level since July 2008. This particular count covers only "regular" programs and does not include all extended benefit and other specialized jobless insurance programs. In the week of January 26, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients nudged up again to a not seasonally adjusted 5.918M, down 23.0% from a year ago. That compares to a cycle peak of 12.060M in January 2010.

By state, the insured unemployment rate continued to vary greatly with South Dakota (1.26%), Virginia (1.55%), Texas (1.63%), Florida (1.70%), Utah (1.97%), Tennessee (2.04%), Indiana (2.33%) and Ohio (2.53%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Michigan (3.44%), New York (3.50%), Massachusetts (3.76%), California (3.80%), Wisconsin (4.15%), New Jersey (4.27%), Pennsylvania (4.37%) and Alaska (6.57%).

Data on weekly unemployment insurance are contained in Haver's WEEKLY database and they are summarized monthly in USECON. Data for individual states are in REGIONW. The consensus estimates come from the Action Economics survey, carried in the AS1REPNA database. 


Unemployment Insurance (000s) 02/09/13 02/02/13 01/26/13 Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Initial Claims 341 368 371 -5.5 375 409 459
Continuing Claims -- 3,114 3,244 -9.6 3,318 3,744 4,544
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.4 2.5 2.7
2.6 3.0 3.6
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 5.918M -23.0 6.047M 7.750M 9.850M
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