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Economy in Brief

Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Fell Sharply
by Tom Moeller April 21, 2005

Initial unemployment insurance claims dropped a sharp 36,000 last week to 296,000. The prior week's 9,000 decline was little revised and it marked the third drop in as many weeks, to the lowest level since late 2000. Consensus expectations had been for 326,000 claims.

The figure covered the survey period for April nonfarm payrolls and was down 33,000 (10.0%) from the March period. The size of the drop may have been magnified by the early timing of Easter this year.

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) 65% correlation with the level of continuing claims.

The four week moving average of initial claims fell to 330,250 (-5.4% y/y).

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell 17,000 following a deepened 31,000 decline the prior week.

The insured unemployment rate remained at 2.1%.

How Do Local Labor Markets in the U.S. Adjust to Immigration? from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 04/16/05 04/09/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Initial Claims 296 332 -16.9% 343 402 404
Continuing Claims -- 2,638 -12.3% 2,926 3,531 3,570
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