Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims decreased to 803,000

by Calculated Risk on 12/23/2020 08:37:00 AM

The DOL reported:

In the week ending December 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 803,000, a decrease of 89,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 7,000 from 885,000 to 892,000. The 4-week moving average was 818,250, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,750 from 812,500 to 814,250.
emphasis added
This does not include the 397,511 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that was down from 454,471 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 818,250.

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 5,457,870 (SA) from 5,766,196 (SA) last week and will likely stay at a high level until the crisis abates.

Note: There are an additional 9,271,112 receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that increased from 9,244,556 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 4,793,230 are receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) that decreased from 4,801,408 the previous week.

This was lower than expected.