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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Drop
by Tom Moeller November 8, 2007

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell further last week to 317,000 from 330,000 during the week prior. It was third consecutive weekly decline and to the lowest level since early last month. The prior week's level was revised up.

The four week moving average of initial claims rose slightly again to 329,750 (4.8% y/y), the highest level since April.There were no special factors indicated as having influenced the figures beyond a slight increase due to wildfires in California.

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 fell a slight 4,000 after the 60,000 spike upward during the prior week. It was revised down slightly.

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

The insured rate of unemployment was stable at 1.9% with a downwardly level during the week prior.

By state and versus one year ago, large declines in initial claims were logged in Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Michigan, Missouri, Virginia and South Carolina. Large y/y increases were in Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Maryland, Texas, Florida and Arizona.

This morning's JEC testimony by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, The Economic Outlook, is available here.

Yesterday's presentation, The End of History, by Fed GovernorKevin Warsh to the New York Association for Business Economics can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 11/03/07 10/27/07 Y/Y 2006 2005 2004
Initial Claims  317 330 1.6% 313 331 343
Continuing Claims -- 2,579 6.0% 2,459 2,662 2,924
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