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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Slipped
by Tom Moeller June 19, 2008

Initial unemployment insurance claims slipped to 381,000 last week from a revised 386,000 during the prior week, which was revised up slightly. Consensus expectations had been for 375,000 claims.

The latest figure covers the survey week for June nonfarm payrolls and claims were up 3.5% from the May survey period.

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 rose slightly week-to-week to 375,250 (19.2% y/y). Claims averaged 369,000 during May. The numbers compare to March when initial claims averaged 375,000.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell 75,000 following a 28,000 worker decline during the prior week. That was revised from the initial report of a 58,000 increase. The four-week average of continuing claims fell slightly to 3,096,000.

Continuing claims provide some indication of workers' ability to find employment and they lag the initial claims figures by one week.

The insured rate of unemployment fell back to 2.3% after one week at 2.4%.

Retirement Savings and Decision Errors: Lessons from Behavioral Economics from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s)  06/14/08 06/07/08 Y/Y 2007 2006  2005
Initial Claims  381 386 17.6% 322 313 331
Continuing Claims -- 3,060 21.6% 2,552 2,459 2,662
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