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Economy in Brief

U.S. Weekly Initial Jobless Insurance Claims Dipped
by Tom Moeller March 27, 2008

Initial unemployment insurance claims fell back last week by 9,000 to 366,000 after an upwardly revised 28,000 increase during the prior week. The latest was near the highest level since September 2005. Consensus expectations had been for 370,000 initial claims last week. So far in March claims have averaged 363,000, up 1.1% from the February average. (Prior years' figures were revised.)

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.

The four week moving average of initial claims fell slightly to 360,250 (13.6% y/y).

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell slightly by 5,000 after the upwardly revised 57,000 increase during the prior week. Insured unemployment is at its highest level since mid 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 held at 2.1%.

No Volatility, No Forecasting Power for the Term Spread from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s)  03/21/08 03/14/08 Y/Y 2007 2006  2005
Initial Claims  366 375 18.1% 322 313 331
Continuing Claims -- 2,845 13.8% 2,551 2,459 2,662
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