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Unemployment claims down last week

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(Read caption) This chart shows the rate of initial and continued unemployment claims since 2010. Rates are down slightly this week, but there's a hint of a slight rising trend for initial claims.

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

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment declined 1,000 to 404,000 claims from last week’s revised 405,000 claims while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims declined by 55,000 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 3.55 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits.

Taken together with the latest 3.16 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 6.71 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.