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Thursday, December 17, 2020

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims increased to 885,000

by Calculated Risk on 12/17/2020 08:48:00 AM

The DOL reported:

In the week ending December 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 885,000, an increase of 23,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 9,000 from 853,000 to 862,000. The 4-week moving average was 812,500, an increase of 34,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 2,250 from 776,000 to 778,250.
emphasis added
This does not include the 455,037 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that was up from 415,037 the previous week.

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 increased to 812,500.

The previous week was revised up.

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

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

Continued claims decreased to 5,508,000 (SA) from 5,781,000 (SA) last week and will likely stay at a high level until the crisis abates.

Note: There are an additional 9,244,556 receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that increased from 8,555,763 the previous week (there are questions about these numbers). This is a special program for business owners, self-employed, independent contractors or gig workers not receiving other unemployment insurance. 

An additional 4,801,408 are receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) that increased from 4,532,876 the previous week. These last two programs are set to expire on December 26th.

This was much higher than expected, and this was for the BLS reference week for the December employment report.