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Unemployment claims drop again

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(Read caption) This chart shows the rate of initial and continued unemployment claims over the past two years. Rates have been in steady decline since peaking in 2009.

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

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment declined 5,000 to 388,000 claims from last week’s revised 393,000 claims while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims declined by 57,000 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 3.45 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits.

Taken together with the latest 3.21 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 6.67 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.