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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims For Jobless Insurance Fell
by Tom Moeller September 20, 2007

Initial claims for jobless insurance fell 9,000 to 311,000 and reversed all of the little revised 5,000 rise during the prior week. An unchanged reading of 322,000 had been expected by a Consensus of economists.

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 rose slightly to 320,750 (1.3% y/y).

The latest figure covers the survey week for nonfarm payrolls in September and claims fell 14,000 (4.3%) from the August period.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell by 53,000 and reversed all of the increases during the prior several weeks. The decline during the prior seek was revised to a slight increase. The continuing claims numbers lag the initial claims figures by one week.

Since yearend 2006, continuing claims have risen 132,000 or by 5.5%. During that period, the monthly survey of household employment from BLS indicates that individuals who were unemployed for 15-26 weeks rose 14.8%. The average weeks of unemployment rose to 16.9 from 15.9.

Reconciling the rise in these figures and the rough stability of the initial claims numbers may be that one represents the "flow" of unemployment while the other captures the "stock" of unemployed individuals. The payroll employment figures from BLS also represent the flow.

The insured rate of unemployment fell to 1.9%.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 09/15/07 09/08/07 Y/Y 2006 2005 2004
Initial Claims  311 320 -3.4% 313 331 343
Continuing Claims -- 2,544 4.0% 2,545 3.3% 2,459
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