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Economy in Brief

Initial Claims For Jobless Insurance Dropped Sharply
by Tom Moeller July 8, 2004

Initial claims for jobless insurance fell sharply last week to 310,000 versus the prior week of 349,000 claims which was revised down. Consensus expectations had been for 340,000 claims.

The decline in claims may have been exaggerated by errant seasonal seasonal adjustment factors which anticipated the regular layoff of autoworkers due to assembly plant closings to prepare for the new model year. Closings this year likely will begin this week. Unadjusted initial claims rose 32,700 in the latest week after falling 4,100 the prior period.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims fell to 336,000 (-20.0% y/y).

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell 85,000 following a 5,000 increase the prior week which was revised down.

The insured rate of unemployment was stable at 2.3% for the fifth straight week.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 7/03/04 6/26/04 Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Initial Claims    310 349 -27.4% 403 404 406
Continuing Claims    -- 2,872 -22.4% 3,533 3,573 3,023
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