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Finally, some good news about unemployment claims

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(Read caption) This chart shows the rate of initial and continued unemployment claims over the past two years. Initial claims dropped sharply from last week.

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

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment plunged 37,000 to 391,000 claims from last week’s revised 428,000 claims while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims declined by 20,000 resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 3.0%.

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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 3.58 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits.

Taken together with the latest 3.30 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 6.88 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.