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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Jump
by Tom Moeller November 15, 2007

Initial claims for unemployment insurance jumped 20,000 last week to 339,000 from 319,000 during the week prior. The latest was the highest level in four weeks and the prior week's figure was upwardly revised. A claims level of 320,000 had been expected.

The four week moving average of initial claims was stable at 330,000 (4.3% y/y).There were no special factors indicated as having influenced the figures.

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 7,000 after a slight decline during the prior week which was revised up slightly.

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

The insured rate of unemployment was again stable at 1.9%.

By state and versus last week, large increases in claims were logged in California, New Jersey, South Carolina, Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan. The construction industry and the manufacturing industry were two of the most sighted for layoffs.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 11/10/07 11/03/07 Y/Y 2006 2005 2004
Initial Claims  339 319 7.6% 313 331 343
Continuing Claims -- 2,568 5.2% 2,459 2,662 2,924
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