Thursday, February 18, 2021

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims increased to 861,000

by Calculated Risk on 2/18/2021 08:38:00 AM

The DOL reported:

In the week ending February 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 861,000, an increase of 13,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 55,000 from 793,000 to 848,000. The 4-week moving average was 833,250, a decrease of 3,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 13,750 from 823,000 to 836,750.
emphasis added
This does not include the 516,299 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that was up from 341,872 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 decreased to 833,250.

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.

Regular state continued claims decreased to 4,494,000 (SA) from 4,558,000 (SA) the previous week and will likely stay at a high level until the crisis abates.

Note: There are an additional 7,685,389 receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that decreased from 7,943,448 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.  And an additional 4,061,305 receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) down from 4,779,341.

Weekly claims were much higher than the consensus forecast, and the previous week was revised up sharply.