Today's jobless claims report showed a decline for initial unemployment claims and a slight increase to continued unemployment claims, as seasonally adjusted initial claims continued to trend below the closely watched 400K level. Seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims declined by 9,000 to 336,000, from 345,000 for the prior week. Seasonally adjusted continued claims declined by 8,000 to 2.868 million, resulting in an insured unemployment rate of 2.2%.
Since the middle of 2008, 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 1.37 million people receiving federal extended unemployment benefits. Taken together with the latest 2.50 million people who are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 3.88 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.