More Americans claim extended unemployment benefits

The number of people claiming initial unemployment status increased from 336,000 to 354,000 claims from last week, while the number of people claiming continued unemployment status declined by 40,000 claims to 2.951 million. Overall, more Americans are claiming extended unemployment benefits.

1.68 million Americans are receiving extended unemployment benefits from the government, which has picked up people who have fallen off of traditional unemployment benefit rolls since mid-2008. Overall, as the chart shows, total continued unemployment claims has continued to decrease, albeit slowly.

Yesterday’s jobless claims report showed an increase to initial unemployment claims and a decrease to continued unemployment claims as initial claims trended well below the closely watched 400K level. 

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment claims increased by 18,000 to 354,000 claims from 336,000 claims for the prior week while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims declined by 40,000 claims to 2.951 million resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 2.3%.  

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 1.68 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits. 

Taken together with the latest 2.77 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 4.46 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls. 

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