Policy Points

08.01.2010 Policy Points Comments Off on A Looming Question

A Looming Question

From the transcripts of the Federal Open Market Committee’s December meeting …

Some participants remained concerned about the economy’s ability to generate a self-sustaining recovery without government support. In particular, they noted the risk that improvements in the housing sector might be undercut next year [2010] as the Federal Reserve’s purchases of MBS wind down, the homebuyer tax credits expire, and foreclosures and distress sales continue.

07.01.2010 Policy Points Comments Off on Around the Dial – Jan. 7

Around the Dial – Jan. 7

Economic policy reports, blog postings, and media stories of interest:

07.01.2010 Policy Points Comments Off on Unemployment Claims in NC: Week of 12/19

Unemployment Claims in NC: Week of 12/19

For the benefit week ending on December 19th, 13,230 North Carolinians filed initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits, and 185,313 individuals applied for state-funded continuing insurance benefits. Compared to the prior week, there were fewer initial and continuing claims. (The filing week, however, had fewer business days due to the Christmas holiday.) These figures come from data released today by the U.S. 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 19,954 initial claims were filed over the last four weeks, along with an average of 193,955 continuing claims. Compared to the previous four-week period, initial claims were lower, continuing claims higher.

One year ago, the four-week average for initial claims stood at 28,106 and the four-week average of continuing claims equaled 161,112.

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

Although new and continuing claims appear to have peaked for this business cycle, the claims levels remain elevated and point to a labor market that remains extremely weak. Especially troubling is the high level of continuing claims, which suggests that unemployed individuals are finding it extremely difficult to find new positions.

07.01.2010 Policy Points Comments Off on Weak Economic Conditions Endure

Weak Economic Conditions Endure

Economic conditions remained weak across much of the nation in November, according to the newest State Coincident Indexes Report prepared by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

In November coincident indexes moved in a negative direction in 16 states and in a positive direction in 26 states. No changes occurred in eight states (CO, ID, IN, LA, NJ, OK, OR, and UT).

graphThe map to the right, which is taken from the Reserve Bank’s survey, shows the three-month changes in coincident indicators by state. Positive numbers denote improvements in economic conditions, and negative numbers refer to declines.

Over the last three months, coincident  indexes decreased in 25 states, rose in 20 states and held steady in five states.

During the same three-month period, North Carolina’s coincident index moved in a slightly positive direction, suggesting that economic conditions improved slightl

06.01.2010 Policy Points Comments Off on Around the Dial – Jan. 6

Around the Dial – Jan. 6

Economic policy reports, blog postings, and media stories of interest: