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Economy in Brief

Initial Jobless Insurance Claims Dropped Sharply
by Tom Moeller January 19, 2006

Initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped 36,000 to 271,000 last week following a downwardly revised 15,000 increase the prior week. Consensus expectations had been for 315,000 claims.

The latest figure covers the survey period for January nonfarm payrolls and initial claims fell a sharp 48,000 (15.0%) from the December period to the lowest level since March 2000.

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 299,000 (-11.2% y/y), its lowest level since July 2000.

Continuing unemployment insurance claims dropped a sharp 158,000 to the lowest level since February 2001.

The insured rate of unemployment fell to 2.0% after four weeks at 2.1%.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 01/14/06 01/07/05 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Initial Claims 271 307 -16.9% 332 343 402
Continuing Claims -- 2,534 -6.4% 2,663 2,924 3,532
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