jobsInitial unemployment claims reported by state programs numbered 414,122 for the week ending January 21, 2012, falling by 112,817 from the prior week. Initial claims fell by about 70,000 from reported claims during the same period in 2011. The number of people having claimed benefits for all state programs combined equaled 7,638,233 for the week ending January 7; a 188,612 claims drop from the prior week.

As of the week ending January 7, extended unemployment benefits were available in 33 states and Washington, D.C. The states include: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Former federal civilian employees filed for 2,293 initial unemployment benefits claims for the week ending January 7, down 358 claims from the previous week. Initial claims filed by newly discharged veterans increased over the week by 446, numbering 3,054 claims. Former federal civilian employees receiving unemployment benefits number 30,859 for the week, down 1,007 over the week. In contrast, the number of newly discharged vets claiming benefits increased by 765 to reach a total of 43,056, over the same period.

Individuals receiving Emergency Unemployment Compensation numbered 2,882,033 from all states, down 144,822 for the week and down about 900,000 claims over the year. State unemployment rates for the week ending January 7 were highest in Alaska (7.3 percent), Oregon and Pennsylvania (4.7 percent each), and Idaho, Michigan, and Montana (4.5 percent each). The largest increases in initial unemployment benefits claims for the week ending January 14 were found in Florida (up 2,711 claims), California (up 1,682 claims), and Iowa (up 596 claims). The largest decreases were found in New York (down 27,713 claims), Pennsylvania (down 11,687 claims), and North Carolina and Georgia (each down about 9,500 claims).

in Unemployment Rate]