Country / Language

Economic Alert: NJ Unemployment Claims Rise From Seven-Year Low

By Patrick J. O'Keefe, Director of Economic Research, J.H. Cohn Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Labor published weekly unemployment insurance statistics, including data for New Jersey through the week ended May 5, 2012.

NJ Highlights:

  • New claims rose from prior week's lowest April level since 2005;
  • Applications remain below pre-recession average;
  • Continuing claims moved downward in the most recent week.

View accompanying charts.

Initial claims (chart 1), a proxy for layoffs, rebounded 12.8% after having fallen by almost one-half (-44.8%) in the prior two weeks and reaching the lowest April level since 2005.

Despite the week-on-week increase, initial claims are 9.2% below the weekly average during the five years (2003-2007) prior to the recession.

The most recent week's uptick is consistent with a pattern of fluctuation that typically persists from early May to mid-June, when school closings begin.

Continuing claims (chart 3), that is individuals receiving regular weekly benefits, declined again (-2.1%) in the last week of April. In the prior week, claims posted the largest week-on-week decline (-12,871 claimants) since the last week of March 1996.

In the most recent week, the continuing claims count was 44.0% below the March 2009 recessionary peak, but 9.9% higher than the pre-recession weekly average.

New Jersey's insured unemployment rate (IUR), the number of beneficiaries as a percent of total covered employment, fell to 3.5%, down slightly from the prior week's 3.6%. The IUR was 3.9% in the comparable week of 2011.

In sum: Applications for unemployment insurance benefits rose from the lowest April reading since 2005, but remain well below the pre-recession average. The number of individuals receiving regular benefits drifted lower, after having declined in the prior week by the largest absolute amount in 16 years and largest proportion in more than six years.

Patrick J. O'Keefe is director of economic research at J.H. Cohn. He can be reached at or 1-877-704-3500.

Visit the "Insight on the Economy" resource page and sign up to receive Economic Notes.

Published date: 5/17/2012

Search Our People

Search Our People

Look ahead. Gain insight. Imagine more. Is your business ready to break through?

View our new TV commercial..

Industry Outlooks

Industry Outlooks

Gain insight into what is ahead for the Commercial Real Estate, Technology and Middle Market Private Equity industries.


Learn about our upcoming events.


Working With Us

Working With Us

What makes CohnReznick different from others in our profession? And what should our clients come to expect when working with us? The answer is The CohnReznick Advantage. Contact us to learn how we can out the CohnReznick Advantage to work for your business.


The value of an organization is determined by the skills and qualities of its leaders. With more than 280 partners serving clients nationwide, CohnReznick is renowned for the diverse experiences, knowledge and backgrounds of its leadership.

Learn More


We align our services in three segments: Accounting and Assurance, Tax, and Advisory. This approach allows us to provide holistic solutions to complex business problems and to seize upon opportunities requiring an integrated approach.

Learn More


Accounting and tax issues different significantly based on an organization's industry. We provide clients with expertise in nearly two dozen industries – we know the opportunities, the obstacles, the competitive landscape.

Learn more


CohnReznick professionals are thought leaders in their industries. Clients benefit from relevant and timely economic, legislative and industry insights that can keep them a step ahead of competition.

Learn More

Global Reach

Our involvement in the Nexia International network of firms enables us assist our clients wherever they do business-providing local expertise and connections wherever they needed. Nexia is comprised of 20,000 professionals operating in over 100 countries.

Learn More