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Jobless Claims

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.

  • Initial claims for unemployment insurance for the week ending July 21 fell to 353 thousand after a volatile spurt the prior week, based on data released by the Department of Labor.  The 4-week moving average, which is less volatile, has been declining over the last 3 weeks after a worrying increase in the second quarter.

  • Judging by data since 2004, if claims continue to hover at around the upper 300 thousand, jobs generated will be a shy of 200 thousand and the unemployment rate will continue to hover at around 8 percent. Although still higher than the historical rate, the economy is certainly moving forward although modestly.  Job security will remain a major concern for homebuyers, although other mitigating factors such as the continued downtrend in interest rates encourage home-buying.
  • In related news, the Census Bureau reported today that new orders for durable goods rose 1.6 percent from May to June. What is interesting is that transportation equipment rose at 8 percent.  An increase in consumer durables demand for transportation indicates that consumers are also better positioned to move into other long-term spending such as real estate.

  • In summary, today’s data show the economy is in no danger of falling into a fresh recession.  But the growth rate is slow.  However, incremental net job gains will continue to add to the pool of future homebuyers.