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Economy in Brief

U.S. Weekly Initial Jobless Insurance Claims Slipped, Monthly Rose
by Tom Moeller February 14, 2008

Initial claims for jobless insurance slipped another 9,000 to 348,000 last week after the prior week's 21,000 decline. For February, claims so far are up 26,000, or 8.0%, from the January average. The latest weekly level remained near the highest since October of 2005.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, a measure which smoothes out most of the series' w/w volatility, rose again to 347,250 (+5.6% y/y), the highest level since late 2005.

A claims level below 400,000 typically has been associated with growth in nonfarm payrolls. During the last ten years there has been a (negative) 76% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payroll employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance slipped 9,000 after a downwardly revised jump of 60,000 during the prior week. The figure provides some indication of workers' ability to find employment but here again difficulties of seasonal adjustment this time of year are great.

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

The insured rate of unemployment held at 2.1% for the second week.

Business Volatility, Job Destruction and Unemployment from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco can be found here.

A Minimum Wager from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s)  02/08/08 02/01/07 Y/Y 2006  2005 2004
Initial Claims  348 357 -2.2% 313 331 343
Continuing Claims -- 2,761 8.3% 2,459 2,662 2,924
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