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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Back Up
by Tom Moeller May 1, 2008

Initial claims for unemployment insurance claims reversed the prior period's decline and rose 35,000 last week to 380,000. Consensus expectations had been for claims to total 360,000 last week.

The four week moving average of initial claims, however, fell to 363,750 (13.1% y/y), its lowest level in over a month.

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 rose 74,000 and also reversed the prior week's decline. The latest level was its highest since early 2004 and it 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 rose to 2.3% after four weeks at 2.2%. The latest also was the highest since 2004.

Unemployment Insurance (000s)  04/25/08 04/18/08 Y/Y 2007 2006  2005
Initial Claims  380 345 23.0% 322 313 331
Continuing Claims -- 3,019 20.9% 2,552 2,459 2,662
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