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Economy in Brief

U.S. Claims for Jobless Insurance Are Little-Changed
by Tom Moeller  June 30, 2011

Initial claims for jobless insurance held roughly steady at 428,000 during the June 25th week versus an unrevised 429,000 during the week prior. The latest compared to Consensus expectations for 422,000 claims. The four-week moving average of claims also held roughly steady, ticking up to 426,750. During the last ten years there has been a 77% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance slipped to 3.702M, about where they've been since mid-April. The insured unemployment rate slipped to 2.9% from an upwardly revised 3.0%, also about 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 624,896 during the week ending June 11 (the latest figure available). A companion program, Emergency Unemployment Compensation, referred to as EUC 2008, saw 3.301M beneficiaries (-26.9% y/y) in the June 11th 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 11th week, these recipients slipped to 7.512M, down 19.7% 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.

Economic and Financial Inclusion in 2011: What it Means for Americans and our Economic Recovery is yesterday's speech by Fed Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin and it can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance(000s) 6/25/11 6/18/11 6/11/11 Y/Y % 2010 2009 2008
Initial Claims 428 429 420 -9.3 459 574 418
Continuing Claims -- 3,702 3,714 -19.4 4,544 5,807 3,338
Insured Unemployment Rate(%) -- 2.9 3.0 3.6
3.6 4.4 2.5
Total "All Programs" (NSA)* -- -- 7.512M -19.7 9.850M 9.163M 3.903M

*Excludes disaster unemployment assistance and trade readjustment allowance
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