Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Signs of Slowing Unemployment; U.S. Jobless Claims Decline for Four Weeks in a Row

Tracking Jobless claims by state: week ending April 25

According to today’s release from the Labor Department, there were nearly 18 million total unemployment claims as of April 18. However, 22 million people filed a new unemployment claim in the last 4 weeks – Apr 11, Apr 4, Mar 28, and Mar 21. Thus, more than 4 million first filers have likely already found a job. Although millions of people lost their job due to the growing spread of the coronavirus, a surge of companies is hiring additional employees to accommodate increased demands. Most of these companies are included in the following industries: health care, food and grocery stores, retail, delivery, and telecommunications.

Jobless claims have declined for the fourth week in a row, showing that unemployment is slowing. Specifically, 3.8 million Americans filed for unemployment last week (ending on April 25), which is a decrease of 603,000 from the previous week’s revised level. In the last six weeks, nearly 30 million new jobless claims filed across the United States. Comparing these claims with the total number of employees, nearly 18% of the workforce lost their job in the last five weeks.

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.

Forty-three states reported a decrease in new claims for the week ending April 25. California, Florida, and Connecticut were the states with the highest decline in unemployment claims compared to the previous week. The number of new claims dropped by 200,318 in California; 74,205 in Florida; 69,771 in Connecticut. Parsing out by industry, fewer layoffs were reported in the services industries in California, according to the local unemployment insurance program offices.

However, unadjusted advance claims increased in Washington, Georgia, and New York. Specifically, the number of advance claims increased by 62,282 claims in Washington; 17,815 in Georgia; and 13,728 in New York.

Taking a closer look at the percentage change of the last week’s new claims with the new claims of the previous week, Connecticut (-68%) had the largest drop in layoffs followed by New Jersey (-49%) and Colorado (-43%). In contrast, in Washington, jobless claims increased 75% from the previous week.

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.