Thursday, March 12, 2009

More of the Same: Weekly Jobless Claims

The Department of Labor released their weekly jobless claims report today:

- Initial jobless claims totaled 654,000 for the week ended 3/7/09
-- This marked the sixth consecutive week that the tally was over 600,000
-- The 5 week moving average (a moving average is less volatile than the week to week number) hit 645,400 and eclipsed 600,000 for the fourth straight week.

- Continuing claims totaled 5,317,000 for the week ended 2/28/09 (this data is always a week behind the initial claims)
-- This marked the third consecutive week that the tally was over 5 million
-- The insured unemployment rate hit 4% for the week ended 2/28/09

The insured unemployment rate is equal to the number of continuing claims divide by the number of workers covered by unemployment insurance. According to a 2003 report by the Congressional Research Service:

"A state is classified as a high-unemployment state if the state’s insured
unemployment rate (IUR) is at least 4%, and at least 120% of the average of the 13-week
IUR in the prior 2 years for the same 13-week calendar period."

The country as a whole now fits this description.

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