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Economy in Brief

Initial Claims For Jobless Insurance Fell
by Tom Moeller April 7, 2005

After increasing steadily from the early February low, initial claims for unemployment insurance fell last week by 19,000 to 334,000 versus an upwardly revised level the prior week. Consensus expectations had been for 330,000 claims. The latest level remained 12.8% above the low.

During the last ten years there has been a (negative) 74% 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 was about unchanged at 336,500 (-1.9% y/y) and it is up 9.5% from the low in February.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance jumped 90,000 from the upwardly revised level of the prior week but the insured unemployment rate remained at 2.1%.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 04/02/05 03/26/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Initial Claims 334 353 -1.5% 343 402 404
Continuing Claims -- 2,688 -10.5% 2,926 3,531 3,570
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