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Economy in Brief

U.S. Weekly Jobless Insurance Claims Fell
by Tom Moeller March 6, 2008

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 24,900 to 351,000 last week. The decline reversed all of the 21,000 increase during the prior week which was revised to show a slightly stronger rise. During February claims averaged 359,000 (+6.3% y/y) per week, up 9.8% from the January average.

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 continued their recent rise. A 29,000 increase during the latest week followed a 16,000 gain during the prior period which was revised down slightly. Insured unemployment stood at its highest level since Summer 2005. The figure provides some indication of workers' ability to find employment.

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

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 2.1% for the fifth consecutive week.

The latest Beige Book from the Federal Reserve covering regional economic conditions can be found here.

An Expanded Look at Employment from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s)  03/01/08 02/23/08 Y/Y 2007 2006  2005
Initial Claims  351 375 7.3% 322 313 331
Continuing Claims -- 2,831 12.3% 2,551 2,459 2,662
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