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Economy in Brief

Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Back Up
by Tom Moeller March 24, 2005

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose 3,000 to 324,000 last week and the level of claims during the prior two weeks was revised slightly higher. Consensus expectations had been for 315,000 claims.

The revisions raised the increase in claims during the March survey period for nonfarm payrolls to 18,000 (+5.9%) versus 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 321,750 (-5.4% y/y).

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose 31,000 from the prior week and the insured rate of unemployment remained at 2.1%.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 03/19/05 03/12/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Initial Claims 324 321 -5.8% 343 402 404
Continuing Claims -- 2,673 -11.7% 2,926 3,531 3,570
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