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Extended unemployment claims increase

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(Read caption) This chart shows the number of initial and continued claims for unemployment benefits over the past three years. Rates have dropped steadily since peaking in 2009, but continued claims increased this week.

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Today’s jobless claims report showed a slight declined to initial unemployment claims and an increased to continued claims while seasonally adjusted initial claims continued to trend below the closely watched 400K level.

Seasonally adjusted “initial” declined to 388,000 claims from last week’s revised 389,000 claims while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims increased by 3,000 resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 2.6%.

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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 3.14 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits.

Taken together with the latest 3.44 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 6.58 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.