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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Jobless Insurance Claims Dip
by Tom Moeller May 8, 2008

Last week's initial claims for unemployment insurance continued the recent up/down pattern, with an upward drift, of the last several periods. They fell by 18,000 to 365,000 after an upwardly revised 38,000 increase during the prior week. Consensus expectations had been for claims to total 375,000 last week.

The four week moving average of initial claims rose slightly week-to-week to 367,000 (17.0% y/y) after claims averaged 365,000 during April.

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 fell 10,000 after an upwardly revised 84,000 worker increase during the prior week. The latest level was near 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.

Initial claims for the week ended April 26 increased the most in Massachusetts, New York, Kentucky, New Jersey and Michigan. The largest decreases occurred in Texas, Rhode Island, California, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

The insured rate of unemployment held steady at 2.3% for the second week. The latest also was the highest since 2004.

Mitigating the Impact of Foreclosures on Neighborhoods is yesterday's speech by Fed Governor Randall Kroszner and it is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s)  05/03/08 04/26/08 Y/Y 2007 2006  2005
Initial Claims  365 383 22.9% 322 313 331
Continuing Claims -- 3,020 19.4% 2,552 2,459 2,662
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