The Latest Initial Unemployment Claims Data Hit Lowest Level of the Pandemic Period

By at 6 August, 2020, 1:46 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

Coming in at 1,186,000 for the week ending August 1, one cannot say that initial jobless claims improved. While this was the lowest level of initial claims since the pandemic hit the U.S. in March, all we can really say is that this latest number was still bad, but less bad than in recent weeks.

The same basically goes for continuing claims, which came in at 16,107,000 for the week ending July 25, compared to the previous week’s 16,951,000.

These latest datapoints from the jobs market are still ugly. After all, the 1,186,000 initial claims for the week ending August 1, while better than the previous week’s 1,435,000, also compared to 214,000 during the same period last year. And continuing claims of 16,107,000 ran basically ten times the level of 1,692,000 registered at the same point last year.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, FRED

For good measure, the latest data on the number of people claiming unemployment insurance benefits in all programs came in at 31,308,678 for the week ending July 25 – versus 1,707,267 last year, by the way.

Looking ahead, it’s hard to see how the economy will make large strides in terms of recovery and growth until this pandemic is finally met with vaccines and therapeutics. Until then, no matter what shutdown policies are imposed, or not, by state and local governments, businesses, workers, investors and consumers will remain, at worst, fearful, or, at least, cautious.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.



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