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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Jobless Insurance Claims Retreat
by Tom Moeller  April 11, 2013

Last week's decline in initial claims for jobless insurance more-than reversed strength during the prior two weeks. Claims fell to 346,000 (-8.5% y/y) during the week ended April 6 from a revised 388,000 during the prior week, initially reported as 385,000. Consensus expectations were for 363,000 claims. The four week moving average of claims increased to 358,000, its highest level in seven weeks. 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 March 30 fell to 3.079M (-6.8% y/y). The four week moving average of continuing claims nudged up from the cycle low to 3.079M. The insured rate of unemployment held at 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 March 23, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients fell to a not seasonally adjusted 5.278M, (-24.1% y/y. That compares to a cycle peak of 12.060M in January 2010.

By state, the insured unemployment rate continued to vary greatly with Virginia (1.40%), Nebraska (1.47%), Texas (1.51%), Florida (1.53%), South Carolina (1.74%), Indiana (1.95%) and Ohio (2.20%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were New York (3.11%), Michigan (3.06%), Illinois (3.44%), Wisconsin (3.62%), Pennsylvania (3.72%), California (3.79%) and New Jersey (3.80%).

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) 04/06/13 03/30/13 03/23/13 Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Initial Claims 346 388 357 -8.5 375 409 459
Continuing Claims -- 3,079 3,091 -6.8 3,318 3,744 4,544
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.4 2.4 2.6
2.6 3.0 3.6
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 5.278M -24.1 6.047M 7.750M 9.850M
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