Thursday, May 21, 2020

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims decrease to 2,438,000

by Calculated Risk on 5/21/2020 08:37:00 AM

Update Another error this week: "In Massachusetts, PUA initial claims for the week ending May 16 were 115,952." With MA correction, total PUA claims is 1,158,081.

The DOL reported:

In the week ending May 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial 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.
emphasis added
The previous week was revised down.

This does not include the 2,226,921 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

The following graph shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims since 1971.

Click on graph for larger image.

The dashed line on the graph is the current 4-week average. The four-week average of weekly unemployment claims decreased to 3,042,000.

This was close to the consensus forecast of 2.5 million.

The second graph shows seasonally adjust continued claims since 1967 (lags initial by one week while increasing sharply).

At the worst of the Great Recession, continued claims peaked at 6.635 million, but then steadily declined.

Continued claims have already increased to a new record high of 25,073,000 (SA) and will increase further over the next couple of weeks - and likely stay at a high level until the crisis abates.

Note: There are an additional 6,121,221 receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). This is a special program for business owners, self-employed, independent contractors or gig workers not receiving other unemployment insurance.