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Economy in Brief

Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Higher Again
by Tom Moeller May 5, 2005

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose further last week. The 11,000 increase to 333,000 followed an upwardly revised gain of 23,000 the week prior. Consensus expectations had been for 325,000 claims.

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 nevertheless fell to 321,500 (-6.9% y/y).

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance gained back 38,000 of a deepened 80,000 drop the prior week.

The insured unemployment rate held at 2.0%.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 04/30/05 04/23/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Initial Claims 333 322 1.2% 343 402 404
Continuing Claims -- 2,589 -11.7% 2,926 3,531 3,570
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