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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Jumped
by Tom Moeller December 20, 2007

Last week, initial claims for jobless insurance jumped 12,000 to 346,000 after a 5,000 decline during the prior week.

The data are for the survey week for December nonfarm payrolls and claims rose 17,000 (5.2%) from the November period.

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, a measure which smoothes out most of the series' w/w volatility, rose to 343,000 (5.3% y/y), the highest level since 2005.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose 12,000 after a 41,000 increase during the prior week.

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

The insured rate of unemployment held at 2.0% for the fourth consecutive week.

What Do Worker Flows Tell Us About Cyclical Fluctuations in Employment? from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s)  12/14/07 12/07/07 Y/Y 2006  2005 2004
Initial Claims  346 334 8.5% 313 331 343
Continuing Claims -- 2,646 6.3% 2,459 2,662 2,924
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