Thursday, February 25, 2021

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims decreased to 730,000

by Calculated Risk on 2/25/2021 08:38:00 AM

The DOL reported:

In the week ending February 20, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 730,000, a decrease of 111,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 20,000 from 861,000 to 841,000. The 4-week moving average was 807,750, a decrease of 20,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 5,000 from 833,250 to 828,250.
emphasis added
This does not include the 451,402 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that was down from 512,862 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 807,750.

The previous week was revised down.

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 4,419,000 (SA) from 4,520,000 (SA) the previous week and will likely stay at a high level until the crisis abates.

Note: There are an additional 7,518,951 receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that decreased from 7,685,857 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 5,065,890 receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) up from 4,062,189.

Weekly claims were much lower than the consensus forecast, and the previous week was revised down.