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Jobless claims lowest since April

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(Read caption) This chart shows initial unemployment claims, in blue, and continued unemployment claims, in red, from the beginning of 2009 through last week. Both initial and continued jobless claims fell from last week.

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

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment declined 7,000 to 395,000 claims from last week’s revised 402,000 claims while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims declined by 60,000 resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 2.9%.

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 3.70 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits.

Taken together with the latest 3.68 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 7.38 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.

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