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Economy in Brief

Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Jumped
by Tom Moeller December 2, 2004

Initial claims for unemployment insurance unexpectedly jumped 25,000 to 349,000 during Thanksgiving week. Holiday periods are notable for seasonal adjustment difficulties. Not seasonally adjusted, claims fell by 36,300. The Consensus expectation had been for 330,000 claims.

The four week moving average of initial claims rose moderately to 336,500 (-8.9% y/y).

During the last ten years there has been a (negative) 82% correlation between the level of initial claims and the y/y change in payroll employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance slumped 20,000 following a downwardly revised 38,000 decline the prior week. The latest is the lowest level since April 2001.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 2.2% for the eighth week.

The latest Beige Book on regional economic conditions from The Federal Reserve Board is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 11/27/04 11/20/04 Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Initial Claims 349 324 -6.2% 402 404 406
Continuing Claims -- 2,723 -18.9% 3,531 3,570 3,018
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