02.14.2013 Policy Points

Weekly Unemployment Claims: Week Of 1/26/13

For the benefit week ending on January 26, 2013, some 13,494 North Carolinians filed initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits and 112,381 individuals applied for state-funded continuing benefits. Compared to the prior week, there were fewer initial and fewer continuing claims. These figures come from data released by the US Department of Labor.

Averaging new and continuing claims over a four-week period — a process that helps adjust for seasonal fluctuations and better illustrates trends — shows that an average of 16,812 initial claims were filed over the previous four weeks, along with an average of 115,520 continuing claims. Compared to the previous four-week period, the average number of initial claims was lower, as was the average number of continuing claims.

One year ago, the four-week average for initial claims stood at 14,483, and the four-week average of continuing claims equaled 126,586.

In recent months covered employment has increased and now exceeds the level recorded a year ago (3.8 million versus 3.7 million). Nevertheless, there are still fewer covered workers than there were in January 2008, which means that payrolls are smaller today than they were five years ago.

The graph shows the changes in unemployment insurance claims measured as a share of covered employment in North Carolina since the recession’s start in December 2007. untitled

Both new and continuing claims appear to have peaked for this cycle, and the four-week averages of new and continuing claims have fallen considerably.  Yet continuing claims remain at an elevated level, which suggests that unemployed individuals are finding it difficult to find new positions.


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