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Economy in Brief

Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Reverse Increase
by Tom Moeller August 17, 2006

Initial claims for jobless insurance last week reversed all of the upwardly revised increase the prior period and fell 10,000 to 312,000. Consensus expectations had been for 317,000 claims.

During July, claims averaged 314,000.A portion of the decline from that level reflects a fall from levels that spiked higher during the automobile industry's annual summer shutdown.

The latest figure covers the survey period for August nonfarm payrolls and initial claims rose 7,000 (2.3%) from the July 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 less volatile four-week moving average of initial claims increased to 311,250 (-1.5% y/y).

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose 34,000 following a slightly revised 41,000 increase during the previous week.

The insured rate of unemployment remained unchanged at 1.9% where it has been since February.

An Update on the Status of the Economy and Its Implications for Monetary Policy is yesterday's speech by Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Fisher and it is available here.

Labor Markets and the Macroeconomy: Conference Summary from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 8/12/06 8/05/06 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Initial Claims 312 322 -2.5% 332 343 403
 Continuing Claims -- 2,507 -3.5% 2,662 2,924 3,532
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