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Economy in Brief

Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Lower
by Tom Moeller March 17, 2005

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 10,000 to 318,000 last week after a revised 18,000 increase the prior week. Consensus expectations had been for 317,000 claims.

The latest figure covers the survey period for March nonfarm payrolls and claims were up 15,000 (5.0%) from the February period.

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 four week moving average of initial claims rose to 316,500 (-7.5% y/y).

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell 48,000 from the prior week and the insured rate of unemployment remained at 2.1%.

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan's testimony titled Future of the Social Security program and economics of retirement can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 03/12/05 03/05/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Initial Claims 318 328 -4.5% 343 402 404
Continuing Claims -- 2,647 -14.0% 2,926 3,531 3,570
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