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Today's jobless claims report showed a notable decline to both initial and continued unemployment claims, as initial claims trended below the closely watched 400K level. Seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims declined by a notable 22,000 to 344,000 from 366,000 for the prior week. Seasonally adjusted continued claims declined by 91,000 to 3.074 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 that have fallen off of the traditional unemployment benefits rolls. Currently, there are some 2.00 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 5.67 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.

Source: Initial, Continued, and Extended Unemployment Claims - Feb. 28, 2013