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Economy in Brief

Unemployment Insurance Claims Suggest Positive Job Growth
by Tom Moeller August 18, 2005

Initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 6,000 to 316,000 last week and reversed a revised 5,000 decline the week earlier. Consensus expectations had been for 310,000 claims.

Despite the increase, initial claims in August are 1.6% below the July average, however, the latest figure covers the survey week for August nonfarm payrolls and is up 3.6% from the July 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.

The four week moving average of initial claims rose to 312,750 (-7.2% y/y).

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose 28,000 following a deepened 16,000 decline one week earlier.

The insured unemployment rate remained at the four year low of 2.0% for the fifth consecutive week.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 08/13/05 08/06/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Initial Claims 316 310 -5.1% 343 402 404
Continuing Claims -- 2,593 -10.7% 2,926 3,531 3,570
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