NewsInitial unemployment claims under state programs declined by 17,256 to 418,466 claims during the week of December 17. Over-the-year claims also fell, down from 495,548 initial claims from the same period in 2010. The insured unemployment rate rose slightly by 0.1 percent to 2.9 percent from the prior week reflecting an increase in number of persons claiming unemployment insurance benefits; rising by 67,895 claims to 3,606,352. The over-the-year rate fell 0.4 percent, falling from 3.3 percent (4, 179,504 claims) during the same period in 2010.

Former federal civilian employee initial claims rose slightly from 2369 to 2,421 during the week ending December 10, comparable to the number of initial claims by newly discharged veterans which increased from 2879 to 2931 during the same week. The new claims increased the total number of former Federal civilian employees accepting unemployment benefits to 32,922, and the total number of newly discharged vets’ claims to 44,949. Both numbers decreased slightly over the previous week.

Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) claims (a federal program providing benefits to people having drained all other state benefits) for the week ending December 3 fell to 2,941,157, down 107,769 from the previous week. In turn, the number of claims fell by over 800,000 over the same week in 2010. EUC is due to expire on January 3, 2012.

The highest increase in insured unemployment rates (were reported in Alaska (6.3 percent), Pennsylvania (4.2 percent), Oregon (4.1 percent), California (3.8 percent), Idaho (3.6 percent), Montana (3.6 percent), Nevada (3.6 percent), Arkansas (3.5 percent), New Jersey (3.5 percent), and Wisconsin (3.5 percent).

in Unemployment Rate]