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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Jump
by Tom Moeller October 18, 2007

Initial claims for unemployment insurance jumped 28,000 to 337,000 last week and reversed all of the improvement of the prior five weeks.

The latest figure covers the survey period for October nonfarm payrolls and claims rose 24,000 (7.7%) from the September period.

The rise by far exceeded Consensus expectations for a gain to 313,000 claims. The four-week moving average of initial claims rose sharply to 316,500 (1.9% y/y).

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.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose for the second week in the last five but it did not reverse the declines during the prior two.

The continuing claims numbers lag the initial claims figures by one week.

The insured rate of unemployment was stable at 1.9%, off the peaks in August of 2.0% held for two consecutive weeks at month- end.

The latest Beige Book covering regional economic activity from the Federal Reserve Board can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 10/13/07 10/06/07 Y/Y 2006 2005 2004
Initial Claims  337 309 9.4% 313 331 343
Continuing Claims -- 2,534 3.7% 2,545 3.3% 2,459
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