The number of people losing jobs continues to remain on a downtrend. Initial unemployment insurance claims that were filed during the week that ended March 21 totaled 282,000 (seasonally adjusted), fewer by 9,000 claims from the previous week’s unrevised level. A decline in the number of unemployment claims indicates fewer job losses and greater job stability.
Based on latest state data (February 2015), almost all states have seen a decline in the number of unemployment claims (about 10 percent drop nationally), except in LA, TX, ND, OK and WY where their oil/gas industries are being buffeted by the steep drop in oil prices.
Despite the job losses in the oil and gas sector, these states appear to be coping up at this point, generating jobs on a net basis. Jobs are growing comparatively strongly in Texas (3.5%), and North Dakota (4.3%), above the national average of about 2.3 percent, although at a subdued pace in Oklahoma (1.5%), Wyoming (1.6%), and Louisiana (1.3%).
NAR expects the economy and job growth to strengthen in 2015 to levels which can support 5.3 million existing home sales in 2015, up from 4.9 million in 2014.