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Initial Jobless Claims Spike

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 March 23 spiked to 357,000 claims from the previous week’s upwardly revised level, increasing by 16,000 claims. Initial claims data is highly volatile, but the increase in the past two weeks appears to be coming from higher filings by Federal civilian employees, reflecting the federal budgetary tightening.
  • The total number of claims filed by the unemployed who are on their second week of unemployment stood at 3.05 million, which is lower than last year’s 3.72 million.  This 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 for REALTORS®: Job losses have been stabilizing although hiring has to pick up to bring down the level of unemployment. Thanks to the housing market recovery, NAR projects 1.5 to 2.0 million non-farm net new jobs in 2013 even with the fiscal sequester.