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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Unchanged
by Tom Moeller June 26, 2008

Initial unemployment insurance claims were unchanged last week at 384,000 versus the prior week that was revised up slightly. Consensus expectations had been for 377,000 claims.

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 week-to-week to 378,250 (19.7% y/y). Claims averaged 369,000 during May. The numbers compare to March when initial claims averaged 375,000.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance made up the prior week's little revised decline and rose 82,000. The four-week average of continuing claims rose to a new cycle high of 3,103,250.

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 rose back to its cycle high of 2.4%.

Unemployment Insurance (000s)  06/21/08 06/14/08 Y/Y 2007 2006  2005
Initial Claims  384 384 21.9% 322 313 331
Continuing Claims -- 3,139 25.6% 2,552 2,459 2,662
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