Today's jobless claims report showed declines in both initial and continued unemployment claims, as initial claims trended well below the closely watched 400K level. Seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims dropped by 9,000 to 323,000, from 332,000 for the prior week. Seasonally adjusted continued claims declined by 43,000 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 who've fallen off of the traditional unemployment benefits rolls. Currently, there are some 1.49 million people receiving federal extended unemployment benefits. Taken together with the latest 2.82 million people currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 4.32 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.