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Economy in Brief

U.S. Weekly Claims For Jobless Insurance Increase But Rate Falls
by Tom Moeller   November 04, 2010

Improvement in the labor market continues hard to come by. Initial claims rose to 457,000 last week and more-than-recovered the prior week's decline to 437,000 which was revised up from 434,000. Nevertheless, the figures remained near the lowest level this year and were down from the 504,000 peak in early-August. Consensus forecasts had been for 445,000 claims and the four-week moving average of claims ticked up to 456,000.

Continuing claims for state-administered programs fell sharply for the third week in the last four to the lowest level since late-2008. The associated unemployment rate slipped to 3.4%, the lowest level since late-2008. These claimants are, however, only about half of the total number of people currently receiving unemployment insurance. Regular extended benefits, with eligibility dependent on conditions in individual states, rose sharply to 1,034,703 on October 16, the latest figure available. In July, the Congress renewed the special Emergency Unemployment Compensation program referred to as EUC 2008. By October, it had a sharply reduced 3.978 million beneficiaries. It will now accept claims through November 30 and will be continuing to pay out benefits until April 30, 2011.

Haver Analytics calculates a grand total of all claimants for unemployment insurance. This series includes extended and emergency programs as well as selective programs for railway employees, recently discharged veterans and federal employees. All together, on October 16, the total number of recipients was 8.884 million, off 2.8% y/y and down from the early-January high of 11.989 million. These data are not seasonally adjusted.

Data on weekly unemployment insurance programs are contained in Haver's WEEKLY database and 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.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 10/30/10 10/23/10 10/16/10 Y/Y % 2009 2008 2007
Initial Claims 457 437 455 -12.5 572 419 321
Continuing Claims -- 4,340 4,382 -24.5 5,809 3,340 2,549
Insured Unemployment Rate(%) -- 3.4 3.5 4.4
4.4 2.5 1.9
Total Continuing Claims* (NSA) -- -- 8,884,065 -2.8% 9.085M 3.884M 2.584M

* Calculated by Haver Analytics, as the sum of regular state programs, extended benefits, federal employees, veterans, railroad retirement board
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