Today's jobless claims report showed an increase to initial jobless claims and a decline to continued unemployment claims, as seasonally adjusted initial claims climbed back above the 300K level. Seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims increased by 15,000 to 309,000 from 294,000 for the prior week. Seasonally adjusted continued claims declined by 28,000 to 2.787 million, resulting in an insured unemployment rate of 2.1%.
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 have fallen off of the traditional unemployment benefits rolls. Currently, there are some 1.45 million people receiving federal extended unemployment benefits. Taken together with the latest 2.51 million people who are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 3.97 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.