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Today’s jobless claims report showed declines for both initial and continued jobless claims, as initial claims dropped below the closely watched 400,000 level.

Seasonally adjusted "initial" unemployment claims declined by 25,000 to 370,000 claims from a revised 395,000 claims for the prior week, while seasonally adjusted "continued" claims declined by 100,000 claims to 3.205 million resulting in an "insured" unemployment rate of 2.5%. 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 2.04 million people receiving federal "extended" unemployment benefits. Taken together with the latest 2.83 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 4.88 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.

Source: Extended Unemployment: Initial, Continued, and Extended Unemployment Claims