05.23.2013 Policy Points

NC Unemployment Claims: Week Of 5/4/2013

For the benefit week ending on May 4, 2013, some 11,341 North Carolinians filed initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits and 89,038 individuals applied for state-funded continuing benefits. Compared to the prior week, there were more initial and more 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 10,299 initial claims were filed over the previous four weeks, along with an average of 89,112 continuing claims. Compared to the previous four-week period, the average number of initial claims was lower, and the average number of continuing claims was lower.

One year ago, the four-week average for initial claims stood at 10,623, and the four-week average of continuing claims equaled 100,419.

In recent months covered employment has increased and now exceeds the level recorded a year ago (3.82 million versus 3.76 million). Nevertheless, there are still fewer covered workers than there were in January 2008, which means that payrolls are smaller today than they were over 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.

Both new and continuing claims appear to untitledhave peaked for this cycle, and the four-week averages of new and continuing claims have fallen considerably.  In fact, the four-week average of initial claims, when measured as a share of covered employment, is now at the lowest level recorded since early 2008.

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