newsAs reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, initial unemployment insurance claims under all state programs for the week ending February 25 numbered 331,906, which is a decline of 14,717 claims over the prior week and about 21,500 claims less from the comparable week in 2011.

During the week ending February 18, the insured unemployment rate was 3.1 percent while the overall number of people claiming benefits was nearly 3.9 million, 131,789 claims lower than the previous week. Over the year, the insured unemployment rate fell 0.4 percent and the total volume of claims fell about 450,000 over the year. Individuals claiming benefits from any unemployment benefit program for the week ending February 11 was 7,498,613, an 11,933 claims increase over the week.

Former federal civilian employees initiated 1,269 initial unemployment benefits claims for the week ending February 18, a decline of 114 from a week earlier. Initial claims by newly discharged vets fell to 2,462, a 58 claims decrease over the previous week. In total, there were 28,680 former federal civilian employees receiving unemployment benefits for the week ending February 11, a 124 claims decrease over the week.

Nationwide, about 2.9 million people claimed Emergency Unemployment Compensation during the week ending February 11, an over-the-week increase of 1,347 and down about 750,000 claims than the same period in 2011. The states with the highest rates of unemployment for the week ending February 11 include: Alaska (6.5 percent), Pennsylvania (4.9 percent), Montana (4.7 percent), Rhode Island (4.6 percent), and Wisconsin (4.6 percent). The states reporting the greatest increase in initial claims for the week ending February 18 included: Iowa (+438 claims), North Carolina (+285 claims), New Mexico (+81 claims), Missouri (+56 claims), and Washington (+21 claims).

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