On January 12, the US government released the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report. The report includes data on insurance claims growth or decline in various business sectors and from various state and federal sources. Releases of temporary holiday employees resulted in an increase in unemployment insurance claims. 399,000 initial claims were filed in the week ending January 7, up from the 375,000 claims filed the previous week.
Seasonally insured unemployment remained relatively unchanged, with 3,628,000 insured unemployed as of December 31, 2011. The number is only 19,000 higher than the 3,609,000 than the week before.
Unadjusted unemployment claims in all federal and state programs as of December 24 are 7,333,213, up from 7,222,203 the week before. The numbers are significantly decreased from December 2010, when they were over 9,000,000. Practically all categories in the report are lower than the year before – state programs, extended benefits, federal programs, etc.
Two significant factors in the rise of insurance claims are temporary employees being released after the holiday season and continual reductions in military forces. With employment in such flux at the present time due to the holidays, it may take some months to determine the definitive effects on employment over the holidays.
For consumers, it is good and bad news. The good news is that the bad news is better this year than last year. The bad news is that employment growth is still reduced, and may likely stay stagnant until definitive policy and business changes are made to the landscape. With businesses not significantly hiring, little growth is occurring and consumers are left with fewer choices of products.