Jobless Claims

By Gay Cororaton

In each Economic Update, the Research staff analyzes recently released economic indicators and addresses what these indicators mean for REALTORS® and their clients. Today’s update discusses unemployment insurance claims and home prices.

  • Initial claims for unemployment insurance are moving in the wrong direction, with more people needing unemployment checks.  The latest figure, though not good, still implies net job creation in the economy.
  • A total of 387,000 initial claims were filed, following the previous week’s upward revised claims estimate of 389,000. This is the 4th week that the 4-week average has been rising.
  • In normal economic times, initial jobless claims hovered at around 300 thousand while the generated about 200 thousand jobs monthly.
  • If claims moves up to 400,000 (as it is doing now) we will see modest job gains.  If the figure rises above 450,000 then the economy would on net be losing jobs.
  • In separate housing news, aside from home sales figures as reported by NAR, the home price index is rising at a faster pace according to new government data.  According to FHFA, home prices rose 0.8 percent in April and are higher by 3.0 percent from one year ago.  The Mountain states are booming with 6.5 percent gain.  This index essentially uses the same formula as Case-Shiller, so other home price measurements in the upcoming months will also show healthy and accelerating home price gains.  Low inventory also bodes well for future home price growth.