Unemployment Claims Dip to 860,000; Continuing Claims Remain Elevated
The Labor Department yesterday reported 860,000 initial claims for unemployment insurance, seasonally adjusted, for the week ending September 12, down by 33,000 from the previous week, but still high by historical standards.
The four-week moving average fell to 912,000, a decrease of 61,000 from the previous week’s revised average.
Labor reported the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent for the week ending September 5, a decrease of 0.7 percentage point from the previous week’s revised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending September 5—also known as continued claims—fell to 12,628,000, a decrease of 916,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The four-week moving average fell to 13,489,000, a decrease of 532,750 from the previous week’s revised average.
Sarah House, Senior Economist with Wells Fargo Securities, Charlotte, N.C., said the drop in claims comes with a caveat. “Initial jobless claims fell last week for both regular and pandemic programs, hinting at some improvement in labor conditions,” she said. “Today’s data is somewhat more consequential as it overlaps with the payroll survey week. The recent change in the seasonal adjustment process suggest the 244,000 drop between survey weeks overstates improvement—NSA claims fell by 100,000.”
House noted continuing claims, however, remain “stubbornly” high. “We are now a full six months from the start of shutdowns, and recipients are starting to exhaust benefits,” she said. “The total number of recipients, including extended or pandemic-specific benefits, remains stuck at nearly 30 million.”