Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Initial Jobless Claims Climb For Third Straight Week

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.

  • After initial unemployment insurance claims started falling in the beginning of the year, claims have started rising again and were up for the third straight week in the week ending March 30. More worrying is that claims spiked up to 385,000 claims which is higher than last year’s average of about 375,000.  Also, although initial claims data are highly volatile, the week’s increase of 28,000 is higher than the weekly variation of about 17,000 claims.
  • The increase in the level of claims by the first-time unemployed follows other disappointing data released this week indicating lower activity in both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors[1] as well as lower levels of payroll employment[2] .   The recovery in the housing sector has boosted construction jobs, but other sectors need to grow robustly to create a bigger dent on job creation.
  • What this Means to REALTORS®: A recovery across all economic sectors is needed 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.

[1] Data released by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed the ISM Manufacturing Index down to 51.3  in March from 54.2 in February, and the  ISM Non-manufacturing Index also down to 54.4  in March from 56 in February.

[2] The ADP Employment Report shows payroll employment to have increased 158,000 in March compared to 198,000 in February.

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