Initial Claims Rise for 2nd Straight Week

After improving—relatively speaking—through most of the spring, initial claims backslid for the second consecutive week, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

For the week ending July 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims rose to 1,434,000, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 6,000 from 1,416,000 to

1,422,000. The four-week moving average rose to 1,368,500, an increase of 6,500 from the previous week’s revised average.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate—also known as continuing claims—rose to 11.6 percent for the week ending July 18, an increase of 0.5 percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 18 rose to 17,018,000, an increase of 867,000 from the previous week’s

revised level. The four-week moving average fell to 17,058,250, a decrease of 435,500 from the previous week’s revised average.

“The recovery has stalled,” said Sarah House, Senior Economist with Wells Fargo Securities, Charlotte, N.C. “More than 30 million workers are receiving some form of jobless benefits, while the clock on emergency federal benefits runs out [Friday]. Through the noise, the trend is little changed and confirms that the economy’s recovery has lost momentum in recent weeks.”

“The labor market continues to face significant disruptions as a direct result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Doug Duncan, Chief Economist with Fannie Mae, Washington, D.C. “The pace of decline appears to have slowed in recent weeks, as initial improvements in claims data have tapered off, a troubling sign for the labor market recovery. Over the last 19 weeks, more than 54 million unemployment insurance claims have been filed.”