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Economy in Brief

U.S. Weekly Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Fall
by Tom Moeller  October 20, 2011

Initial claims for jobless insurance fell to 403,000 last week versus 409,000 a week earlier (revised from 404,000). The latest figure compared to 400,000 as expected in the Action Economics survey. The 4-week moving average of claims fell to 403,000, its lowest since mid-August.

The latest claims figure covers the survey period for October nonfarm payrolls. Claims fell 25,000 (-5.8%) from the September period. During the last ten years there has been a 76% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose to 3.719M in the October 8th week. The insured unemployment rate held at 2.9%. By state, the rate varied with Virginia (1.4%), New Hampshire (1.6%), Texas (1.7%), Minnesota (1.7%), Indiana (1.8%), Florida (2.0%) and Tennessee (2.0%) at the low end of the range. The rates in Illinois (2.8%), South Carolina (2.9%), Connecticut (3.1%), Nevada (3.2%), California (3.3%), New Jersey (3.4%) and Pennsylvania (3.5%) 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 6.697M as of October 1, down by one-quarter y/y. Regular extended benefits, with eligibility dependent on conditions in individual states, recovered the prior week's rise and fell to 517,755 (-49.8% y/y) and those on the special "EUC 2008" programs fell to 2.967M (-26.6% 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.

Expectations and the Economy from Dennis P. Lockhart, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 10/15/11 10/8/11 10/1/11 Y/Y% 2010 2009 2008
Initial Claims 403 409 405 -12.8 461 577 413
Continuing Claims -- 3,719 3,694 -15.8 4,544 5,807 3,338
 Insured Unemployment Rate(%) -- 2.9 2.9 3.5
3.6 4.4 2.5
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 6.697M -24.7 9.850M 9.163M 3.903M
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