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Economy in Brief

Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Maintain Tight Range
by Carol Stone April 27, 2006

Initial claims for jobless insurance are hovering in a narrow range as they once again reversed their previous week's move. After falling in the April 15 week from 314,000 to 304,000, they rose to 315,000 in the April 22 week. Consensus expectations had been for a nearly unchanged reading at 305,000.

The prior week included both Christian and Jewish religious holidays, and that may have restrained filings in some areas. So it seems only a modest surprise that claims rebounded a bit last week. The four-week moving average is 308,500, within a few thousand of its level since early March. This is 6.5% below the year-ago amount.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose 22,000 during the latest week, but the prior week was revised downward by 12,000, so there's a net increase of just 10,000 from the unrevised level.

The insured rate of unemployment continues at 1.9%, where it's been for almost two months. Notably, the lowest level ever for this rate was right at the end of the tech boom in the spring of 2000, when it was 1.6%. The current 1.9% reading is the next lowest in the 35-year history of these data.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 04/22/06 04/15/06 04/08/06 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Initial Claims 315 304 314 -3.1% 332 343 403
Continuing Claims -- 2,449 2,427 -5.4% 2,663 2,923 3,530
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