08.22.2013 Policy Points

NC Unemployment Claims: Week Of 8/3/2013

For the benefit week ending on August 3, 2013, some 7,323 North Carolinians filed initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits and 89,864 individuals applied for state-funded continuing benefits. Compared to the prior week, there were more initial claims 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 7,081 initial claims were filed over the previous four weeks, along with an average of 96,874 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 10,856, and the four-week average of continuing claims equaled 100,857.

In recent months covered employment has increased and now exceeds the level recorded a year ago (3.84 million versus 3.77 million). Nevertheless, there are still fewer covered workers than there were in January 2008, which means that payrolls are smaller today than they were  some 5.5 years ago.

The graph (right) shows the changeuntitleds 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 have 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 near the lowest level recorded since early 2008. 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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