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Unemployment Insurance Claims: Trend Down in First Half of 2015

This blog post was written by Erin Fitzpatrick. Erin is a Summer Research Intern and is currently studying at George Washington University pursuing a B.S. in Economics and a B.A. in Political Science.

  • Initial claims for unemployment insurance filed during the week ending July 4 increased from the previous week’s level to 297,000. This increase of 15,000 claims can be attributed as weekly volatility in the data. The 4-week moving average also increased to 279,500 claims. Initial claims for unemployment insurance are filed by workers starting a period of unemployment. Fewer initial claims mean fewer layoffs and greater job stability. Most analysts consider a level of 300,000 as an indicator of normal economic activity.

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  • Despite initial claims for unemployment insurance increasing over the past couple of weeks, the average number of claims has decreased significantly over time. In 2015, the average number of initial claims filed from January-June was 285,174, a significant decline from the peak level of 616,771 in 2009.
  • NAR expects nonfarm payroll employment to increase by about 2.5 million net new jobs in 2015 and 5.3 million in existing home sales.