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Economy in Brief

Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance At One Month Low
by Tom Moeller July 20, 2006

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 30,000 to 304,000 last week after an upwardly revised 20,000 increase during the prior week. Consensus expectations had been for a lesser decline to 320,000 claims.

The figure covers the survey period for July nonfarm payrolls and initial claims were down 5,000 (-1.6%) from the June period. During the last ten years there has been a (negative) 78% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payroll employment.

The w/w decline reversed all of the increases during the prior four weeks and dropped claims to the lowest level in one month. The four-week moving average of initial claims fell to 316,750 (-1.6% y/y).

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance jumped 85,000 following a deepened 28,000 decline the previous week. Claims were at the highest level since February.

The insured rate of unemployment held steady at 1.9% where it has been since February.

Robust estimation and monetary policy with unobserved structural change from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 07/15/06 07/08/06 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Initial Claims 304 334 -3.5% 332 343 403
 Continuing Claims -- 2,505 -3.5% 2,663 2,923 3,530
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