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Rising Unemployment Leading to Increased Risks For Homeowners

In the week ending May 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims was 2,438,000, a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 294,000 from 2,981,000 to 2,687,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,042,000, a decrease of 501,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 73,500 from 3,616,500 to 3,543,000. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 17.2% for the week ending May 9, an increase of 1.7 percentage points from the previous week's revised rate.

The previous week's rate was revised down by 0.2 from 15.7% to 15.5%. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 9 was 25,073,000, an increase of 2,525,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 285,000 from 22,833,000 to 22,548,000. The 4-week moving average was 22,002,250, an increase of 2,313,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 71,250 from 19,760,000 to 19,688,750.

"As with the prior weeks, a few caveats make this week’s data difficult to interpret precisely," said Doug Duncan, Chief Economist, Fannie Mae. "On one hand, unemployment insurance eligibility rules have been relaxed recently, increasing the number of people who are able to apply. This makes it difficult to estimate the uninsured unemployed share of the workforce. On the other hand, many states reported a significant backlog of unemployment insurance applications due to a lack of processing capacity, indicating that this week’s release may understate the true extent of insured layoffs."

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to impact the economy, and claims for unemployment insurance reach record highs, homeowners are at an increased risk of becoming delinquent in the coming months. According to Black Knight, some 3.6 million homeowners were past due on their mortgages as of the end of April (including the roughly 211,000 who were in active foreclosure)—the highest number since January 2015.

About Author: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a Harding University graduate with a degree in English and a minor in writing. He is a contributing writer for MReport. An East Texas Native, he has studied abroad in Athens, Greece and works part-time as a photographer.
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