Jobless Claims Drop, Remain Elevated
Initial claims fell in the week ending Nov. 28, the Labor Department reported yesterday, but remain elevated in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic slowdown.
Labor reported for the week ending November 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims fell to 712,000, a decrease of 75,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The four-week moving average fell to 739,500, a decrease of 11,250 from the previous week’s revised average.
The report said the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent for the week ending November 21, a decrease of 0.4 percentage point from the previous week’s revised rate. The previous week’s rate was revised up by 0.1 from 4.1 to 4.2 percent.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 21—also known as continuing claims—fell to 5,520,000, a decrease of 569,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The four-week moving average dropped to 6,194,250, a decrease of 425,500 from the previous week’s revised average.
“With renewed pressure on businesses as COVID cases rise, it is unclear if the near-term trend will remain downward,” said Sarah House, Senior Economist with Wells Fargo Securities, Charlotte, N.C. “The downward trend continues to slow, however, pointing to smaller job gains ahead.”
House noted a report this week from the Government Accountability Office highlighted “ongoing issues” with claims figures, including duplicate filings, backlogs and fraud, which make the weekly readings less reliable than they have been historically.
“Claims remain elevated relative to other measures of layoffs, suggesting some catch up is due as these issues are worked through,” House said. “But that might limit the signal strength as rising COVID cases renew pressure on businesses.”