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REPEAT: MNI DATA ANALYSIS: US Jobless Claims Fall To 232,000>

Repeats Story Initially Transmitted at 12:30 GMT Apr 18
--Initial Claims Four-Week Average +1,250 To 231,250; 5th Straight Gain
By Kevin Kastner and Holly Stokes
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - Initial claims U.S. state unemployment benefits 
fell by 1,000 to 232,000 in the April 14 employment survey week, 
slightly above the 230,000 level expected by analysts in an MNI survey, 
data released by the Labor Department Thursday showed. 
     The level of claims is up 5,000 from the 227,000 level in the March 
17 employment survey week, a slightly negative factor for April 
     The four-week moving average for initial claims, which tends to be 
a better measure of the underlying trend of the data, rose by 1,250 to 
231,250 in the April 14 week, a fifth straight increase. Even so, the 
level of the four-week average remains very low. 
     If the number of headline claims does not change next week and 
there are no revisions to data from the past four weeks, the four-week 
average will rise by 3,500 as the 218,000 level in the March 24 week 
rolls out of the calculation. 
     Seasonal adjustment factors had expected a decrease of 2.2%, or 
5,134, in unadjusted claims. Instead, unadjusted claims fell by 6,180 
(2.7%) to 225,545. The current week's level was only slightly below the 
225,864 level in the comparable week a year ago. 
     The only states where claims were estimated were Colorado and 
Maine. However, the claims taking procedures in the Virgin Islands and 
Puerto Rico have still not returned to normal.   
     The level of continuing claims fell by 15,000 to 1.863 million in 
the April 7 week after rising by 60,000 in the previous week. Continuing 
claims have seen a see-saw pattern in recent months. 
     Before seasonal adjustment, continuing claims fell by 74,700 to 
1.927 million, well below the 2.042 million level seen in the comparable 
week last year. 
     The four-week average for continuing claims, a more reliable 
measure when the continuing claims are rapidly moving week-to-week, rose 
by 6,750 to 1.859 million. 
     The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate held steady at 
1.3% in the April 7 week, down from 1.4% in the same week a year 
     The unemployment rate among the insured labor force is well below 
that reported monthly by the Labor Department because claims are 
approved for the most part only for job losers, not the job leavers and 
labor force reentrants included in the monthly report. 
     ** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 ** 

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