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Economy in Brief

Initial Jobless Insurance Claims Fell Despite Hurricane Jeanne
by Tom Moeller October 7, 2004

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 37,000 last week to 335,000 after a revised 21,000 jump the prior week. Consensus expectations had been for a more moderate decline to 355,000 claims.

Hurricane Jeanne made landfall on September 25th and initial claims in Florida remained high, but lower claims elsewhere offset this strength.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims rose to 348,500 (-11.6% y/y). During the last ten years there has been an 81% (negative) correlation between the monthly average of initial claims and the y/y change in payroll employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell 1,000 following a decline the prior week that was revised deeper to 14,000.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 2.3% where it has hovered since the end of April.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 10/02/04 09/25/04 Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Initial Claims 335 372 -13.9% 402 404 406
Continuing Claims -- 2,864 -19.9% 3,531 3,570 3,018
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