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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Remained High
by Tom Moeller October 25, 2007

Initial claims for unemployment insurance remained high at 331,000 last week versus an upwardly revised level of 339,000 during the prior week.

The decline in claims last week fell short of Consensus expectations for a decline of 17,000 claims. The four week moving average of initial claims rose sharply to 324,750 (+5.0% y/y).

This month initial claims have averaged 326,000 per week, up 4.2% against an average of 313,000 during September.

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 by 0.3% for second consecutive week. The increase during the prior week was downwardly revised.

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

The insured rate of unemployment held steady at 1.9%, off the peaks in August of 2.0% which were reached for only two weeks during month-end.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 10/20/07 10/13/07 Y/Y 2006 2005 2004
Initial Claims  331 339 6.8% 313 331 343
Continuing Claims -- 2,530 3.9% 2,545 3.3% 2,459
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