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Economy in Brief

Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims At Four Month Low
by Tom Moeller July 21, 2005

Initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped a sharp 34,000 to 303,000 last week after a 16,000 increase the week earlier which was little revised. The latest figure is the lowest since mid-April. Consensus expectations had been for 328,000 claims.

The latest also covers the survey period for July nonfarm payrolls and fell 13,000 (4.1%) from the June 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 dropped to 318,00 (-6.3% y/y), the lowest level since early March.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance reversed about all of the prior week's increase with a 41,000 decline.

The insured unemployment rate fell back to the four year low of 2.0%.

Age and Education Effects on the Unemployment Rate from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 07/16/05 07/09/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Initial Claims 303 337 -11.9% 343 402 404
Continuing Claims -- 2,577 -8.8% 2,926 3,531 3,570
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