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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Reverse Earlier Decline
by Tom Moeller  June 23, 2011

Initial claims for jobless insurance increased to 429,000 during the June 18th week from 420,000 during the week prior, initially reported as 414,000. The latest compared to Consensus expectations for 415,000 claims. The four-week moving average of claims held steady at 426,250. During the last ten years there has been a 77% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

The latest figure covers the survey period for June nonfarm payrolls and claims rose 15,000 (3.6%) from the May period. During the last ten years there has been a 76% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance held roughly steady at 3.697M, about where they've been since mid-April. The insured unemployment rate also was steady at 2.9%, where it's been since late-February. These claimants, however, were only about half of the total number of people currently receiving unemployment insurance. Regular extended benefits, with eligibility dependent on conditions in individual states, fell to 653,687 during the week ending June 4 (the latest figure available). A companion program, Emergency Unemployment Compensation, referred to as EUC 2008, saw 3.299M beneficiaries (-30.2% y/y) in the June 4th week.

A grand total of all claimants for unemployment insurance includes extended and emergency programs and specialized programs covering recently discharged veterans, federal employees and those in state-run "work share" programs. All together, during the June 4th week, these recipients rose to 7.538M, off 22.6% y/y. We calculate a broader insured unemployment rate by taking this grand total as a percent of covered employment. The latest rate slipped to 4.8%. It peaked at 9.3% on January 2, 2010.

Two other programs, disaster unemployment assistance (DUA) and trade readjustment allowance (TRA), are reported through a different Labor Department channel. Claimants were the lowest since early-2009. All of these individual program data are not seasonally adjusted.

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 estimates are in AS1REPNA.

Why are manufacturers struggling to hire high-skilled workers? from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 6/18/11 6/11/11 6/4/11 Y/Y % 2010 2009 2008
Initial Claims 429 420 430 -7,3 459 574 418
Continuing Claims -- 3,697 3,698 -19.2 4,544 5,807 3,338
Insured Unemployment Rate(%) -- 2.9 2.9 3.6
3.6 4.4 2.5
Total "All Programs" (NSA)* -- -- 7.538M -22.6 9.850M 9.163M 3.903M

*Excludes disaster unemployment assistance and trade readjustment allowance
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