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 initial jobless claims.
- Good news for the job market this week: initial unemployment insurance claims for the week ending February 9 dropped to 341,000, which is 27,000 claims lower than the previous week’s level. Although the data is preliminary and gets revised higher nearly every week for prior week’s data, the drop in initial claims is larger than the usual weekly variation since January of about 18,000 claims. This indicates that fewer people are starting a period of unemployment.
- The level of weekly claims looks headed towards 350,000 from last year’s average level of about 375,000 claims. It is also a far cry from the peak level in 2009. Still, the pace of job creation has to accelerate to absorb those already unemployed into the market. As of February 2, about 3.2 million continue to receive unemployment insurance benefits.
- The bottom line for REALTORS® is that the job market continues to make steady, if modest, gains. NAR projects 1.4 million non-farm net new jobs in 2013, one factor that can support 5.08 million existing homes sales.