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Initial Jobless Claims Down 22,000 for Week Ending February 23

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 jobless claims.

  • Initial unemployment insurance claims for the week ending February 23 dropped by 22,000 claims to 344,000, after spiking up the previous week. Weekly claims data exhibit volatility, and the first data release is preliminary and subject to revision, which is generally upwards.
  • The 4-week moving average is a better measure of the trend. It now stands at 355,000, and is below the 2012 average weekly claims of 375,000. A lower level of claims indicates that fewer people are starting a period of unemployment.
  • To date, there are 3.074 million receiving unemployment insurance benefits. Although this is about half the peak level in 2009, this is still higher than the pre-recession level. The job market is certainly improving, and even with sequestration, NAR projects 1.4 million non-farm net new jobs in 2013.