Economic Update by P. DUFFY
Initial unemployment claims edge down to 900,000, but still at elevated levels
In the week ending January 16, initial unemployment claims were 900,000, a decrease of 26,000 from the previous week’s revised level. Continued claims during the week ending January 9 were 5,054,000, a decrease of 127,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending January 2 was 15,994,519, a decrease of 2,412,508 from the previous week.
December housing starts up another 5.8 percent to highest annual rate since Sep. 2006
Privately-owned housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,669,000. This is 5.8
percent above the revised November estimate of 1,578,000 and is 5.2 percent above the December 2019 rate of 1,587,000. An estimated 1,380,300 housing units were started in 2020. This is 7.0 percent above the 2019 figure of 1,290,000.
December building permits up another 4.5 percent to highest annual rate since Aug. 2006
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate
of 1,709,000. This is 4.5 percent above the revised November rate of 1,635,000 and is 17.3 percent
above the December 2019 rate of 1,457,000. An estimated 1,452,000 housing units were authorized by building permits in 2020. This is 4.8 percent above the 2019 figure of 1,386,000.