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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Slip W/W But Trend Higher
by Tom Moeller  June 21, 2012

There's further evidence that the rate of labor market improvement has slowed. The four-week moving average of initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 386,250 last week, their highest since December. Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 387,000 during the week of June 16 from 389,000 in the prior week. However, the prior week's figure was revised up from 386,000 and Consensus expectations were for 380,000 new claims for last week.

The latest claims figure covers the survey week for June nonfarm payrolls. Initial claims rose 15,000 (4.0%) from the May period. During the last ten years there has been a 75% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance were steady w/w at 3.299M during the week of June 9. The insured rate of unemployment held at 2.6% where it's been since March. This particular count covers only "regular" programs and does not include all extended benefit and other specialized jobless insurance programs. In the week of June 2, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients fell further to 5.826M, down -22.8% y/y and down 50% from the peak in January 2010.

By state the insured unemployment rate varied greatly with Virginia (1.36%), Texas (1.56%), Ohio (1.73%), Indiana (1.80%), Florida (1.85%) and Georgia (2.09%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Nevada (3.00%), Illinois (3.08%), Connecticut (3.22%), New Jersey (3.31%), California (3.33%) and Pennsylvania (3.51%).

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 consensus survey estimates are in AS1REPNA.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 06/16/12 06/09/12 06/02/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 387 389 380 -8.7 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,299 3,299 -11.5 3,745 4,544 5,807
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.6 2.6 3.0
3.0 3.6 4.4
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 5.826M -22.8 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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