newsAs reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, initial unemployment insurance claims under all state programs for the week ending February 18 numbered 345,216, a decline of 19,888 claims over the prior week and about 35,000 claims less from the comparable in 2011. During the week ending February 11, the insured unemployment rate was 3.2 percent while the overall number of people claiming benefits was nearly 3.99 million, over 11,000 claims higher than the previous week. Over the year, the insured unemployment rate fell 0.5 percent with the volume in 2011 about 4,588,000 claims over the previous 12 months. Individuals claiming benefits from any unemployment benefit program for the week ending February 4 was 7,502,791, a 178,619 claims decrease over the week.

Former federal civilian employees initiated 1,383 initial unemployment benefits claims for the week ending February 11, a decline of 195 from a week earlier. Initial claims by newly discharged vets fell to 2,520, a 373 claims decrease over the previous week. In total, there were 42,021 former federal civilian employees receiving unemployment benefits for the week ending February 4, a 829 claims decrease over the week.

Nationwide, about 2.9 million people claimed Emergency Unemployment Compensation during the week ending February 4, an over-the-week decline of 83,145 and down about 765,000 claims less than the same period in 2011. The states with the highest rates of unemployment for the week ending February 11 include: Alaska (6.8 percent), Idaho (4.6 percent), Montana (4.6 percent), Oregon (4.6 percent), and Wisconsin (4.6 percent). The states reporting the greatest increase in initial claims for the week ending February 11 included: Massachusetts (+853 claims), Puerto Rico (+352 claims), Nebraska (+345 claims), Hawaii (+85 claims), and Rhode Island (+69 claims).

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in State Labor Stats]