Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Layoffs Fell Below 1 Million Last Week

Tracking Jobless claims by state: week ending August 29

Layoffs fell sharply last week to a new pandemic low. This is a decrease of 130,000 from the previous week's revised level. However, this significant drop in jobless claims can also be attributed to the new methodology used by the Bureau for seasonally adjusted figures. In the meantime, the unadjusted new jobless claims suggest that there was a slight change last week in the number of people applied for benefits. Specifically, the number of actual new claims totaled 833,352 in the week ending August 29, an increase of 7,591 (0.9%) from the previous week. It was the fifth straight week in which unadjusted claims have totaled below 1 million.

The National Association of REALTORS® closely monitors the weekly claims for unemployment insurance provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since this data is also released for each state, we track the jobless claims activity at the state level. This state-level data report is a very important indicator to watch at economic turning points, because it provides detail on what’s happening week by week, rather than each month or quarter.

Thirty-three states reported a decrease in new claims for the week ending August 29. Taking a closer look at the percentage change of the last week’s new claims with the new claims of the previous week, South Dakota (-26%) had the largest drop in layoffs followed by Michigan (-24%) and Florida (-24%). In contrast, unadjusted advance claims increased in California, North Dakota and Hawaii. Particularly, compared to the previous week, initial claims increased by 21% in California; 21% in North Dakota; 19% in Hawaii.

Moreover, the current release provides information about people filing new and total Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Among 48 states, 14 million people received benefits in the week ending August 15 using the federal government’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Nearly 2.6 million more people claimed to receive PUA benefits compared to a week earlier. California, Michigan and New York had the most people receiving PUA benefits. Specifically, 29% of the labor force in California received PUA benefits in the week ending August 15 followed by Michigan (17%) and New York (16%).

The map below shows you the percentage change of layoffs for each state. Click on a state to see how many layoffs occurred every week within the last year.

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