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Economy in Brief

Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Lowest Since April
by Tom Moeller November 17, 2005

A 25,000 decline last week in initial claims for unemployment insurance to 303,000 followed a little revised 3,000 increase the prior week and dropped claims to the lowest level since mid-April. Consensus expectations had been for a lesser decline 320,000 claims.

The latest figure covers the survey period for November nonfarm payrolls and claims were down 54,000 (15.1%) from the October period.

The Labor Department indicated that roughly 10,000 new claims last week were related to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, bringing the total since Sept. 3 linked to the Gulf Coast storms to an unadjusted 545,000 claims. Hurricane Wilma, which struck Florida late last month, led to roughly 9,000 claims bringing the total to 16,400 related claims since that storm hit.

The four-week moving average of initial claims fell sharply to 321,500 (-4.2% y/y), the lowest level since early September.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose 3,000 following a downwardly revised 5,000 drop during the prior week.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 2.2% for the eighth week.

Spendthrift Nation from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 11/12/05 11/05/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Initial Claims 303 328 -9.8% 343 402 404
Continuing Claims -- 2,793 0.3% 2,926 3,531 3,570
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