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Economy in Brief

Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Lower
by Tom Moeller May 19, 2005

Following three weeks of increase, initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 20,000 last week to 321,000 and the prior period's gain was little revised. Consensus expectations had been for 330,000 claims.

The latest figure covers the survey period for May nonfarm payrolls and claims are up 22,000 (7.4%) from the April 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) 65% correlation with the level of continuing claims.

The four week moving average of initial claims rose to 329,750 (-2.6% y/y).

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose 5,000 and the prior week's gain was little revised.

The insured unemployment rate held at 2.0% for the fourth consecutive weeks.

This morning's speech titled Government-sponsored enterprises by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 05/14/05 05/07/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Initial Claims 321 341 -8.0% 343 402 404
Continuing Claims -- 2,601 -11.7% 2,926 3,531 3,570
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