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Unemployment benefits claims drop to four-month low

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(Read caption) This chart shows initial and continued unemployment claims from the beginning of 2009 through last week. Unemployment benefits showed a notable decline from last week, after following a rising trend.

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Today’s jobless claims report showed a notable decline to both initial and continued unemployment benefits claims as a recent rising trend was called firmly into question for initial claims.

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment declined 24,000 to 398,000 claims from last week’s revised 422,000 claims while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims declined by 17,000 resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 2.9%.

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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 3.76 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits.

Taken together with the latest 3.78 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 7.54 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.

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