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Economy in Brief

Initial Jobless Insurance Claims Held the Low Ground
by Tom Moeller February 17, 2005

Initial claims for unemployment insurance inched down another 2,000 to 302,000 last week, the lowest level since late 2000. The prior week's figure was revised up slightly and Consensus expectations had been for 315,000 claims.

The latest figure covers the February survey period for nonfarm payrolls and initial claims were 16,000 (5.0%) lower than the prior month.

The four week moving average of initial claims fell to 311,750 (-13.5% y/y).

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell 14,000 following a downwardly revised gain of 40,000 the prior week.

During the last ten years there has been a (negative) 75% correlation between the level of initial claims for unemployment insurance and the monthly change in payroll employment. There has been a (negative) 66% correlation with the level of continuing claims.

The insured rate of unemployment fell to 2.1%, the lowest since 2001.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 02/12/05 02/05/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Initial Claims 302 304 -13.7% 343 402 404
Continuing Claims -- 2,717 -15.9% 2,926 3,531 3,570
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