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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Jobless Insurance Claims Rebound
by Tom Moeller  July 19, 2012

Last week's indication of labor market improvement was a false reading.Initial claims for unemployment insurance jumped to 386,000 during the week ended July 14th from a much-lower 352,000 during the prior week, revised from 350,000. Consensus expectations were for 365,000 new claims. The four-week moving average of claims fell to 375,500, its lowest since late May.

The latest claims figure covers the survey week for July nonfarm payrolls. Claims fell 6,000 (1.5%) from the June period. During the last ten years there has been a 74% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance were roughly constant  w/w at 3.314M (-11.1% y/y) during the week of July 7. The insured rate of unemployment held steady 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 30, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients fell to 5.752M, down -21.5% y/y and down 50% from the peak in January 2010.

By state the insured unemployment rate varied greatly with Virginia (1.35%), Nebraska (1.36%), Texas (1.67%), Ohio (1.73%), Indiana (1.81%), Florida (1.94%), and Georgia (2.02%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Illinois (2.92%), Nevada (2.97%), California (3.13%), Connecticut (3.49%), New Jersey (3.50%), Pennsylvania (3.70%) and Alaska (3.77%).

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) 07/14/12 07/07/12 06/30/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Initial Claims 386 352 376 -7.7 409 459 574
Continuing Claims -- 3,314 3,313 -11.1 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) -- -- 5.752M -21.5 7.750M 9.850M 9.163M
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