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Labor Department: New Unemployment Claims Fell 9K to 397K

November 3, 2011

The U.S. job market improved slightly last week, with fewer Americans signing up for unemployment compensation.

Thursday's report from the Labor Department of new unemployment claims fell 9,000 to a nationwide total of 397,000. The lower total reflects fewer layoffs, which are a step toward lowering the relatively high U.S. unemployment rate.

Economists surveyed by news agencies predict the jobless rate will remain at 9.1 percent when the newest unemployment data is published on Friday. Those experts also predict the U.S. economy will have a net gain of around 95,000 jobs.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has said the job market and U.S. economic growth are improving, but at a "frustratingly slow" rate.

A separate report showed U.S. workers grew more productive in July, August and September. It is the first quarterly gain in the amount of output per worker, per hour, in a year. Labor costs dropped somewhat during the same period.

Higher productivity allows companies to raise wages without sparking inflation.

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WEEKLY CLAIMS REPORT

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending October 29, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 397,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 406,000. The 4-week moving average was 404,500, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's revised average of 406,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.9 percent for the week ending October 22, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 22 was 3,683,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,698,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,703,250, a decrease of 10,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,713,750.


UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 366,923 in the week ending October 29, a decrease of 10,433 from the previous week. There were 421,097 initial claims in the comparable week in 2010.

The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5 percent during the week ending October 22, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,178,790, a decrease of 16,241 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 3.0 percent and the volume was 3,759,365.


The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending October 15 was 6,781,960, an increase of 103,117 from the previous week.

Extended benefits were available in Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin during the week ending October 15.

Initial claims for UI benefits by former Federal civilian employees totaled 2,332 in the week ending October 22, a decrease of 515 from the prior week. There were 2,667 initial claims by newly discharged veterans, a decrease of 64 from the preceding week.

There were 29,178 former Federal civilian employees claiming UI benefits for the week ending October 15, an increase of 2,455 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 41,063, an increase of 1,165 from the prior week.

States reported 2,945,642 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending October 15, an increase of 23,705 from the prior week. There were 3,978,374 claimants in the comparable week in 2010. EUC weekly claims include first, second, third, and fourth tier activity.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending October 15 were in Puerto Rico (5.0), Alaska (4.4), Pennsylvania (3.6), Oregon (3.5), California (3.4), New Jersey (3.4), Virgin Islands (3.4), Nevada (3.2), Arkansas (3.1), and Connecticut (3.1).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending October 22 were in California (+7,176), New York (+2,494), Illinois (+2,057), Georgia (+1,642), and Pennsylvania (+1,579) while the largest decreases were in Florida (-2,230), Puerto Rico (-1,393), Washington (-898), Arizona (-735), and Arkansas (-567).

 

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE DATA FOR REGULAR STATE PROGRAMS

 

WEEK ENDING Advance Oct. 29 Oct. 22 Change Oct. 15 Prior Year1
 


 

Initial Claims (SA) 397,000 406,000 -9,000 404,000 454,000
Initial Claims (NSA) 366,923 377,356 -10,433 357,562 421,097
4-Wk Moving Average (SA) 404,500 406,500 -2,000 403,750 451,000
 
WEEK ENDING Advance Oct. 22 Oct. 15 Change Oct. 8 Prior Year1
 


 

Ins. Unemployment (SA) 3,683,000 3,698,000 -15,000 3,739,000 4,351,000
Ins. Unemployment (NSA) 3,178,790 3,195,031 -16,241 3,133,644 3,759,365
4-Wk Moving Average (SA) 3,703,250 3,713,750 -10,500 3,727,250 4,382,500
 


 

Ins. Unemployment Rate (SA)2 2.9% 2.9% 0.0 3.0% 3.5%
Ins. Unemployment Rate (NSA)2
 
2.5% 2.5% 0.0 2.5% 3.0%
 


INITIAL CLAIMS FILED IN FEDERAL PROGRAMS (UNADJUSTED)

 

WEEK ENDING
Oct. 22
Oct. 15
Change
Prior Year1
Federal Employees 2,332 2,847 -515 3,804
Newly Discharged Veterans 2,667 2,731 -64 2,593
 


PERSONS CLAIMING UI BENEFITS IN ALL PROGRAMS (UNADJUSTED)

 

WEEK ENDING
Oct. 15
Oct. 8
Change
Prior Year1
Regular State 3,186,845 3,123,868 +62,977 3,753,481
Federal Employees (UCFE) 29,178 26,723 +2,455 45,319
Newly Discharged Veterans (UCX) 41,063 39,898 +1,165 42,868
EUC 20083 2,945,642 2,921,937 +23,705 3,978,374
Extended Benefits4 540,443 524,856 +15,587 1,034,703
State Additional Benefits 5 4,551 4,611 -60 4,040
STC / Workshare 6 34,238 36,950 -2,712 57,737
TOTAL 6,781,960 6,678,843 +103,117 8,916,522
 


FOOTNOTES
SA - Seasonally Adjusted Data, NSA - Not Seasonally Adjusted Data
1 - Prior year is comparable to most recent data.
2 - Most recent week used covered employment of 126,188,733 as denominator.
3 - EUC weekly claims include first, second, third, and fourth tier activity. Tier-specific EUC data can be found here: http://ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/docs/persons.xls
4 - Information on the EB program can be found here: http://www.ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/extenben.asp
5 - Some states maintain additional benefit programs for those claimants who exhaust regular, extended and emergency benefits. Information on states that participate and the extent of benefits can be found starting on page 4-5 of this link: http://ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/pdf/uilawcompar/2010/special.pdf
6 - Information on STC/Worksharing can be found starting on page 4-9 of the following link: http://ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/pdf/uilawcompar/2010/special.pdf

UNADJUSTED INITIAL CLAIMS FOR WEEK ENDED 10/22/2011


STATES WITH A DECREASE OF MORE THAN 1,000


 

State Change   State Supplied Comment
FL -2,230   Fewer layoffs in the agriculture, manufacturing, trade, retail, and service industries.
PR -1,393   No comment.
 


STATES WITH AN INCREASE OF MORE THAN 1,000


 

State Change   State Supplied Comment
CA +7,176   Layoffs in the service industry.
NY +2,494   Layoffs in the construction, finance and insurance, and transportation industries.
IL +2,057   Layoffs in the construction, service, and trade industries.
GA +1,642   Layoffs in the construction, service, trade, and manufacturing industries.
PA +1,579   Layoffs in the construction, retail, service, and healthcare industries.
TN +1,493   Layoffs in the manufacturing and service industries.
WI +1,291   No comment.
NJ +1,074   Layoffs in the construction, retail, service, manufacturing, and healthcare industries.
MA +1,049   Layoffs in the construction industry.
NC +1,021   Layoffs in the construction, petroleum refining, and transportation industries.

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