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NJ Unemployment Claims Near Multi-Year Lows


5/21/15

by Patrick J. O'Keefe, Director of Economic Research

The most recent U.S. Department of Labor unemployment insurance (UI) data for New Jersey shows that through the week ended May 9: 

  • Applications for benefits rose modestly from a one-year low;
  • Number of beneficiaries is below 100,000 for the first time since 2007;
  • Insured unemployment rate is the lowest since 2007.
     

View accompanying chartbook.

Initial claims (chart 1), a proxy for layoffs, rose slightly (+1.6%%) after having fallen for 3 consecutive weeks. Applications in the most recent week were almost one-tenth (-9.2%) less than 2014’s comparable week.

Adjusted for seasonal factors (chart 2), applications in the week ended May 9 increased 5.6%, the third consecutive increase since mid-April when the number of registrants was the fewest in almost 15 years (October 2000).

For the period ending May 9, the four-week seasonally adjusted average of new filings (chart 3) – which adjusts for regularly recurring changes and weekly fluctuations – was the lowest since November 2000.

Total filings in the most recent week were well below (-11.5%) the average for the five years (2003-2007) prior to the recession.

Continuing claims (chart 4), that is individuals receiving regular benefits, has fallen in fourteen of the seventeen weeks since the seasonal peak at the start of January and is below 100,000 for the first time since 2007.

In the most recent week, the number of beneficiaries declined 3.5%. Relative to the comparable week of 2014, the number of beneficiaries is down 16.5%.

Adjusted for seasonality (chart 5), continuing claims declined modestly (-0.6%) in the most recent week, yet reached the lowest level since November 2006.

Taking account of seasonal patterns and weekly fluctuations (chart 6), the number of beneficiaries is down by more than one-half (-51.2%) from the recessionary peak (June 2009).

The number of claimants is currently 17.0% below the average during the five years (2003-2007) prior to the recession.

The State’s insured unemployment rate (IUR), the number of beneficiaries as a percentage of total covered employment was 2.6% (versus 3.0% a year ago) and, together with California, ranked second third highest among all states.


The statements, opinions, and conclusions contained herein are based solely upon the author’s own studies, research, and personal experience. Neither CohnReznick nor the author make any representation or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. CohnReznick and the author expressly disclaim any liability for any loss or damage which may be incurred, of any kind whatsoever, as a result of or arising from the use of any of the information contained herein or reliance on the accuracy or completeness of it.

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