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Economy in Brief

Initial Jobless Insurance Claims Up Modestly
by Tom Moeller February 24, 2005

Initial claims for unemployment insurance 9,000 to 312,000 last week following three weeks of sharp decline. The prior week's level was little revised and Consensus expectations had been for 309,000 claims.

Despite the increase, claims in February are 7.8% below the January average. The four week moving average of initial claims fell to 308,750 (-14.6% y/y).

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell 62,000 following a deepened 19,000 decline 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 was stable at a low 2.1%.

The February 2005 Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting are available here.

Expectations and the Monetary Policy Transmission Mechanism from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 02/19/05 02/12/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Initial Claims 312 303 -11.4% 343 402 404
Continuing Claims -- 2,650 -15.8% 2,926 3,531 3,570
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