Fundamentals like employment and affordability are key to sustained housing recoveries. Among the markets with the strongest improvements in employment over the 24-month period ending in June are Bismarck and Fargo, both of which have benefited from the oil boom in North Dakota. However, two of the top-five markets were in Texas which was only modestly impacted by the housing bust and subsequent financial crisis. The markets with weak employment growth are more idiosyncratic and reflect local trends. For additional information on employment trends in a particular market including industry trends, see the Local Market Reports for the 2nd quarter of 2013.
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 unemployment insurance claims.
- Initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped in the last week of August to 323,000 claims, the lowest number of claims filed since the economy fell under the Great Recession. This brings the weekly average number of claims filed in August to 329,771 claims, which is fewer than the number of claims filed in July and the year-to-date average for 2013. The number of claims is now well below the 350,000 which is considered the normal level for a healthy economy.
- Although initial claims data is not used to compute the overall unemployment rate because those filing initial claims cover only a segment of the labor market, fewer unemployment claims filed portend a lower unemployment rate since those currently employed are not losing their jobs.
- The Department of Labor will release the unemployment rate figure for August tomorrow, but the favorable claims data and the stronger GDP growth in the second quarter point to a positive report tomorrow.