jobsInitial unemployment insurance (UI) claims for the week ending January 14, 2012 fell by nearly 125,000 over the previous week. At 521,613 claims under state programs, the week was also down about 28,000 claims from the same period in 2011. For the week ending January 7, 2012, the total number of UI benefits claims numbered over 4 million and was down about 85,000 claims from the prior week.

States offering extended unemployment benefits, as of the week ending December 31, 2011 include Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, 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 seeking initial UI benefits jumped by over 1000 to 2,651 for the week ending January 7. Additionally, initial UI claims for newly discharged veterans rose to 2,578, up by 683 over the previous week.  The total number of former federal civilian employees claiming UI benefits numbered 31,866 during the week ending December 31, 2011, climbing by over 2,000 from a week earlier. Claims from newly discharged veterans increased slightly to 42,291, up 194 from the preceding week.

Overall, state programs reported over 3 million persons seeking Emergency Unemployment Compensation for the week ending December 31, up over 100,000 claims from the prior week but down by about 700,000 over the year. States with the highest unemployment rates for the week ending December 31 were Alaska (6.9 percent), Connecticut (6.6 percent), Oregon (5.0 percent), Wisconsin (4.9 percent), Pennsylvania (4.7 percent), Idaho (4.5 percent), Rhode Island (4.5 percent), Montana (4.3 percent), New Jersey (4.2 percent), Arkansas (4.0 percent), Illinois (4.0 percent), and Washington (4.0 percent).

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