Today's jobless claims report showed a jump in both initial unemployment claims and continued jobless claims, as initial claims trended below the closely watched 400K level. Seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims increased by a whopping 20,000 to 362,000 claims, from 342,000 claims for the prior week. Seasonally adjusted continued claims increased by 11,000 claims to 3.148 million, resulting in an insured unemployment rate of 2.4%.
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 who've fallen off of the traditional unemployment benefits rolls. Currently, there are some 1.84 million people receiving federal extended unemployment benefits. Taken together with the latest 3.66 million people who are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 5.51 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.