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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Remained Low
by Tom Moeller September 13, 2007

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose a bit last week, but only by 4,000 to 319,000. A much larger increase to 325,000 had been expected by a Consensus of economists that would have reversed roughly half of the prior week's 22,000 decline. The prior week's figure was revised down slightly to 315,000.

A claims level below 400,000 typically has been associated with growth in nonfarm payrolls. During the last six years there has been a (negative) 78% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payroll employment.

The four-week moving average of initial claims fell slightly to 324,000 (2.7% y/y).

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell by 6,000, reversing one third of the prior week's large 18,000 increase. That rise was revised lower from a 25,000 gain reported initially. The continuing claims numbers lag the initial claims figures by one week.

Since yearend 2006, continuing claims have risen 173,000 or by 7.2%

Payroll employment has risen 870,000 (0.6%) since yearend.

The insured rate of unemployment was unchanged at 2.0%.

The Rise in U.S. Household Indebtedness: Causes and Consequences from the Federal Reserve Bank can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 09/08/07 09/01/07 Y/Y 2006 2005 2004
Initial Claims  319 315 2.2% 313 331 343
Continuing Claims -- 2,585 4.2% 2,545 3.3% 2,459
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