Initial Jobless Claims totaled 554k, 3k less than expected but the prior week was revised up by 2k. Continuing Claims continued to fall, by 88k for the week and was 165k less than expected. Both are impacted by the unusual seasonal adjustments this year because of the differing timing of auto plant shutdowns. However, continuing claims are now being pressured due to more people seeing their 26 week unemployment insurance expire and who are falling off the calculated rolls (many get extensions up to 79 weeks but that is not included in the Labor Dept’s calculation) as opposed to them getting new jobs. Those that received extended benefits (an additional 13 weeks due to the stimulus package), past the 26 weeks, totaled 360k, not seasonally adjusted, up from 297k last week and 347k the week prior. The insured unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.7%.
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