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Economy in Brief

Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Down, Monster Index Up
by Tom Moeller December 7, 2006

Last week, a 34,000 decline in initial unemployment insurance claims to 324,000 retraced all of the prior period's little revised jump. The decline nearly matched Consensus expectations for 320,000 claims.

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 328,750 (4.2% y/y), its highest level since May.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance jumped 57,000 and added to the downwardly revised 32,000 increase during the prior week.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.9% for the fifth consecutive week and equaled the average rate since February.

The Monster Employment Index rose three points last month to a new series' high. The 17.4% y/y increase was, however, the slowest in the index's brief history. Figures dating back only to 2003 can be found in the Haver SURVEYS database and the latest report from Monster is available here.

Uneven Employment Growth Reflects Differing Mixes of Jobs from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis can be found here.

Construction Slowdown from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 12/02/06 11/25/06 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Initial Claims 324 358 2.5% 332 343 403
 Continuing Claims -- 2,524 -2.2% 2,662 2,924 3,532
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