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Economy in Brief

Unemployment Insurance Claims Continue Downtrend
by Tom Moeller August 4, 2005

Initial claims for unemployment insurance ticked down to 312,000 last week from an upwardly revised 313,000 the prior week and contrasted to Consensus expectations for 315,000 claims.

The four week moving average of initial claims declined to 316,750 (-7.5% y/y). The decline continued the minor downtrend in place since earlier this year when claims neared 350,000, and the major downtrend since early 2003 when claims touched 430,000.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell 18,000 following a downwardly revised 28,000 increase one week earlier.

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 insured unemployment rate remained at the four year low of 2.0% for the third straight week.

Payroll Employment Data: Measuring the Effects of Annual Benchmark Revisions from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 07/30/05 07/23/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Initial Claims 312 313 -8.8% 343 402 404
Continuing Claims -- 2,581 -11.1% 2,926 3,531 3,570
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