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Today’s jobless claims report showed declines to both initial and continued unemployment claims as initial claims trended well below the closely watched 400K level.

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment claims declined by a notable 42,000 to 346,000 claims from 388,000 claims for the prior week while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims declined by 12,000 claims to 3.079 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 1.83 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits.

Taken together with the latest 3.35 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 5.18 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.

Source: Extended Unemployment: Initial, Continued And Extended Unemployment Claims April 11, 2013