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Economy in Brief

Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Lowest Since 2000
by Tom Moeller January 5, 2006

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell a sharp 35,000 to 291,000 in the last week of 2005 following an upwardly revised 7,000 increase the prior period. The latest level was the lowest since September 2000. Consensus expectations had been for 320,000 claims.

During the last ten years there has been a (negative) 75% correlation between the level of initial jobless insurance claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

The four-week moving average of initial claims fell sharply to 316,750 (-4.0% y/y), the lowest level since August.

Continuing unemployment insurance claims increased 13,000 following the downwardly revised 75,000 spike during the prior week.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 2.1% for the third week.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 12/31/05 12/24/05 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Initial Claims 291 326 -15.9% 331 343 402
Continuing Claims -- 2,718 -3.3% 2,926 3,531
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