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Economy in Brief

Initial Jobless Claims Edge Lower Again
by Carol Stone August 19, 2004

Initial unemployment insurance claims fell 3,000 to 331,000 last week and the prior week was up revised marginally. Claims were once again lower than expected; the consensus forecast was 335,000 claims.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims fell to 337,000 (-15.1% y/y).

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose 16,000 following a revised 13,000 drop the week prior. These continuing claims, that is, the total number of unemployment benefit recipients, run closely parallel to the total number unemployed in the monthly employment survey; the correlation has been 82% over the last 15 years.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 2.3%, where it has hovered since the end of April.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 08/14/04 08/07/04 07/31/04 Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Initial Claims 331 334 337 -14.7% 399 403 403
Continuing Claims -- 2904 2888 -19.3% 3,516 3,564 2974
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