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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Jobless Insurance Claims Jump
by Tom Moeller   September 15, 2011

Job market improvement is no more. Initial claims for unemployment insurance jumped to 428,000 last week from 417,000 during the week prior (revised from 414,000). The latest figure was the highest since the last week of June and it exceeded expectations for 412,000 claims, according to the Action Economics survey. The 4-week moving average of 419,500 claims was the highest since late-July.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance slipped to 3.726M in the September 3rd week. It has been trending sideways since early this year. The insured unemployment rate held at 3.0%. By state, the rate varied with Virginia (1.4%), Texas (1.9%), Ohio (1.9%), Tennessee (2.1%) and Colorado (2.2%) at the low end of the range. The rates in Nevada (3.4%), Alaska (3.7%), Connecticut (3.7%), New Jersey (4.1%) and Pennsylvania (4.2%) were at the high end.

The grand total of those receiving unemployment insurance, including extended programs run by the states and the federal government, was 7.144M as of August 27, down by nearly one-quarter y/y. Regular extended benefits, with eligibility dependent on conditions in individual states, fell to 541,044 (-36.7% y/y) and those on the special 2008 "EUC 2008" programs rose to 3.067M (-25.3% y/y).

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.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 9/10/11 9/3/11 8/27/11 Y/Y% 2010 2009 2008
Initial Claims 428 417 412 -4.9 459 574 418
Continuing Claims -- 3,726 3,738 -17.0 4,544 5,807 3,338
Insured Unemployment Rate(%) -- 3.0 3.0 3.5
3.6 4.4 2.5
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 7.144M -22.4 9.850M 9.163M 3.903M
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