Initial Jobless Claims Essentially Held Steady

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.

  • Initial unemployment insurance claims for the week ending March 16 essentially remained stable from the previous week, slightly increasing by 2,000 claims to 336,000 claims. The increase likely reflects only the usual weekly volatility in the data with the caveat that the number is preliminary and is generally revised upwards the following week.
  • Initial claims have been declining, but that does not mean that the overall employment conditions are back to normal. Job growth has to pick up to significantly reduce the unemployment rate.  As of February 2013, there were 12.1 million unemployed and an additional 8.0 million part-time workers who are seeking full-time work. The economy needs 3 million more jobs annually over the next 3 years to bring down the unemployment rate closer to normal historical levels.
  • What this Means to REALTORS®: Job losses have been stabilizing although hiring has to pick up to bring down the level of unemployment. NAR projects 1.5 to 2.0 million non-farm net new jobs in 2013 even with the fiscal sequester.