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Jobless claims down 11,000

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Eric Risberg/AP Photo/File

(Read caption) Job seekers line up for a resume critique at a career fair put on by National Career Fairs in San Jose, Calif., on March 30. Hundreds turned out for the three-hour event in search of a job. Unemployment claims are down, but extended unemployment claims are up, a government report shows.

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Today’s jobless claims report showed a decline to both initial claims and continued claims with a subtle flattening continuing to shape up for both series while total continued claims including federal extended benefits appear to also be flattening.

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment claims declined by 11,000 to 448,000 claims from last week’s revised 459,000 claims while “continued” claims declined by 18,000 resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 3.6%.

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Since the middle of 2008 though, two federal government sponsored “extended” unemployment benefit programs (the “extended benefits” and “EUC 2008” from recent legislation) have been picking up claimants that have fallen off of the traditional unemployment benefits rolls.

Currently there are some 5.4 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits.

Taken together with the latest 4.98 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are well over 10 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.

Historically, unemployment claims both “initial” and “continued” (ongoing claims) are a good leading indicator of the unemployment rate and inevitably the overall state of the economy.

Adjusting for the general increase in population tames the continued claims spike down a bit.

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