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Economy in Brief

Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Jumped
by Tom Moeller November 30, 2006

Initial claims for unemployment insurance jumped 34,000 last week to 357,000 from an upwardly revised level during the prior period. Consensus expectations had been for a decline to 317,000.

No specific factors were sighted by the Labor Department for the increase but volatility related to large seasonal factors often occurs around the Thanksgiving holiday. The seasonally unadjusted number of initial claims fell 45,203 last week.

During the last ten years there has been a (negative) 77% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payroll employment.

The four-week moving average of initial claims rose to 325,000 (3.0% y/y), its highest level since June.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance also jumped by 45,000 after a downwardly revised 5,000 worker decline the prior week.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.9%, the average rate since February.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 11/25/06 11/18/06 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Initial Claims 357 323 12.6% 332 343 403
 Continuing Claims -- 2,480 -8.5% 2,662 2,924 3,532
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