Unemployment Insurance Claims Below 300K Benchmark for Week of Sept 20

  • Initial claims for unemployment insurance filed in the week ended September 20 increased slightly to 293,000. The increase of 12,000 can be considered as normal volatility and does not fully wipe out the gains of the previous week, when claims fell by 35,000. Overall, claims have been on the downtrend in September, averaging 298,500 for the last four weeks, which is below the benchmark of 300,000 that most analysts consider as an indicator of normal economic activity. Fewer claims for unemployment insurance means greater job stability for workers. A solid job history is an important criteria lenders look at when evaluating a loan application.


  • With generally fewer claims filed every week, the number of insured unemployed has also been on the decline. As of the week of September 13, there were 2.4 million claiming unemployment insurance, down from about 6.6 million at the height of the housing crisis in 2009.
  • Overall, the insurance claims data indicates an improving job market in September and portends a continuing decline in the unemployment rate. About 2 to 2.5 million net new jobs are likely to be added over the next 12 months. NAR expects that the sustained improvement in the job market can support 5 million existing home sales in 2014.

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