Weekly Unemployment Claims Dip Below 1.5 Million

The economy is slowly re-opening, but the number of people filing first-time unemployment claims continues to jolt feel-good optimism. In the week ended June 20, 1.48 million people filed claims, a decrease of 60,000 from the previous week’s revised 1.508 million, according to the Labor Department.

California continues to lead all states with more than 1 million claims filed. The total number of people receiving unemployment insurance dropped below 20 million.

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The four-week moving average declined to 1.62 million, a decrease of 160,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 8,000 from 1.773 million to 1.781 million. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 13.4% for the week ending June 13.

“Initial and continuing claims point to gradual improvement in the labor market. Falling initial claims signal that the pace of layoffs is slowing, but it still extremely high,” Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial, told CNBC.

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Fed: Another 1.5 Million First-Time Weekly Jobless Claims Filed; Continuing Claims Drop

The Labor Department June 18 disclosed that another 1.5 million people filed for first-time unemployment benefits for the week ended June 13. That was 58,000 fewer claims filed than in the previous week period. More than 45.7 million have filed for unemployment over the past 13 weeks. The unemployment rate was 14.1% for the week ending June 6 — unchanged from the previous period.

The relative good news is that continued unemployment claims dropped by 62,000 to 20.5 million — suggesting the economy is slowly re-opening following prolonged shutdowns due to COVID-19. Yet, to some observers, the trend is still troubling.

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“For an economy that is reopening, that is [still] a huge number,” Steven Blitz, chief U.S. economist at TS Lombard, told Reuters. “The economy is losing workers and employment beyond the initial impact tied to businesses that shut down.”

For the entertainment sector, studios remain largely operating remotely, with some studio executives participating in virtual investor events from their homes. Los Angeles County earlier this month gave the greenlight to re-new production of movies and TV shows. Georgia, which was the first state in the country to re-open movie theaters and allow content production, will see operations begin in earnest next month in Atlanta.

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1.5 Million New Unemployment Claims Filed Last Week

Above average jobless claims continue with another 1.5 million first-time claims filed through June 6. That compared with more than 1.87 million first-time filers in the previous-week period.

More than 44 million people — hundreds of thousands in the entertainment sector — have filed for unemployment since the coronavirus pandemic expanded nationwide.

The four-week moving average was 2,002,000, a decrease of 286,250 claims from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 4,250 claims from 2,284,000 to 2,288,250.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 14.4% for the week ended May 30, a decrease of 0.2 percentage points from the previous week’s revised rate.

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UPDATE: May Unemployment Rate Actually Higher Due to ‘Misclassification Error’

The percent of unemployed Americans due to the coronavirus pandemic actually increased to 16.3% in May compared with 14.7% in April, according to a “misclassification error” the Bureau of Labor Statistics disclosed on June 5.

“BLS and Census Bureau are investigating why this misclassification error continues to occur and are taking additional steps to address the issue,” BLS said in its report, first disclosed by The Washington Post.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said the improved May un-employment numbers indicated the economy was back on track.

“Today’s report shows much higher job creation and lower unemployment than expected, reflecting that the re-opening of the economy in May was earlier, and more robust, than projected,” Scalia said in a statement.  “Millions of Americans are still out of work, and the Department remains focused on bringing Americans safely back to work and helping States deliver unemployment benefits to those who need them. However, it appears the worst of the coronavirus’s impact on the nation’s job markets is behind us.”

Meanwhile, recent statistics from Datex Property Solutions found that almost 50% of commercial properties did not pay rent in May.

“Social distancing means financial Armageddon for commerical real estate and municipalities in coming months,” fiscal analyst R. Christoper Whalen wrote on his blog.

The Congressional Budget Office projects COVID-19 will have a fiscal impact exceeding $8 trillion and expects the nation’s economy won’t fully recover until 2030. Indeed, with expanded unemployment benefits ($600 weekly) set to expire July 31, a surge in unpaid rent, mortgages, credit card bills and car payments could surge.

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“We’re not in a normal recession situation where [the] key priority is getting the unemployment rate down,” Damon Jones, economist at University of Chicago, told The Post. “We’re intentionally keeping the economy in a coma to try to treat it.”

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Weekly Jobless Claims Dip, Still Top 1.8 Million

The economy may be slowly re-opening from the coronavirus pandemic, but people are still out of work. New weekly labor statistics from the federal government says 1.87 million people filed jobless claims for the week ended May 30. That was about 250,000 fewer claims filed from the week period. More than 43 million people have filed claims during the 11-week coronavirus pandemic.

The previous week’s unemployment claim level was revised up by 3,000 from 2.123 million to 2.126 million. The four-week moving average was 2.284 million, a decrease of 324,750 from the previous week’s revised average.

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The nation’s unemployment rate stands at 14.8%, up 0.5% from the previous week.

“It’s a sign that things are not getting as worse as they were before,” said Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed Hiring Lab, told The Washington Post. “We have seen a reduction in the pace of people becoming jobless. So that’s positive. But we’re still seeing claims at astronomical levels than what we saw before this crisis.”

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Weekly Jobless Claims Top 40 Million in 10 Weeks

The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on millions of Americans. New weekly employment data from the U.S. Department of Labor finds that 2.1 million people filed jobless claims for the week ended May 23.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 14.5% for the week ended May 16, a decrease of 2.6 percentage points from the previous week’s revised rate.

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The Federal Reserve, in a May 27 report, said the ongoing unemployment rate — the highest since the Great Depression in the 1930s — threatens consumer spending, tourism and manufacturing.

While the unemployed are receiving an additional $600 weekly from the federal government as part of the $2 trillion Care Act, that money is set to expire in July.

“For the vast majority of people, those benefits don’t even replace half of [their] prior income,” Heidi Shierholz with the Economic Policy Institute told The Washington Post.

Another 2.4 Million People Filed Jobless Claims Last Week; Upping 9-Week Total Past 38 Million

The economy may be reopening slowly around the country, but people being out of work continues. New data from the U.S. Labor Department revealed that more than 2.4 million people filed unemployment claims for the week ended May 16 — bringing the nine week total during the coronavirus pandemic to 38.6 million.

The government said the unemployment rate was 17.2% for the week ended May 9, an increase of 1.7 percentage points from the previous week.

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Torsten Slok, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities, thinks the unemployment rate in May will reach 20%, compared with 14.7% in April.

“The hemorrhaging has continued,” Slok told The New York Times.

Indeed, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, citing comments from Universal Pictures chairwoman Donna Langley, May 20 disclosed that the vast majority of Hollywood’s 890,000 studio and television employees are not working due to COVID-19 shutdowns.

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“Anyone listening to yesterday’s meeting heard loud and clear that employees and businesses are suffering,” Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors chair Kathryn Barger said in a briefing.

Studios are banking on movie theaters re-opening in Los Angeles and New York in July, driven by Christopher Nolan’s Tenet (Warner Bros.) on July 17 and Disney’s Mulan on July 24.

Fed: Another 2.98 Million Weekly Jobless Claims Filed

The number may be declining slightly as the country unlocks the economy, but new data from the U.S. Department of Labor reports that more than 2.98 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the week ended May 9 — bringing the seven-week total due to the economic impact of the coronavirus to more than 36 million.

The total is 195,000 fewer claims filed than during the previous week. The four-week average for claims filed topped 3.6 million — a decrease of 564,000 claims from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 7,000 from 4.17 million to 4.18 million.

The adjusted unemployment rate was 15.7% for the week ended May 2, an increase of 0.3 percentage point from the previous week’s revised rate.

“As many states and localities reopen for business, hiring should resume and the economy should begin to revive. Still, the challenge for policymakers is to minimize permanent job losses where possible,” John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer Asset Management, wrote in a May 8 note.

The pandemic has resulted in 1.39 million cases in the United States and 84,100 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Another 3.2 Million Added to Weekly Unemployment Roll

The U.S. Department of Labor May 7 said 3.2 million people filed unemployment claims for the week ended May 2. The filings come on top of more than 30 million claims filed over the previous six weeks.

The previous week’s level was revised upward by 7,000 from 3.83 million 3.84 million. The four-week moving average was 4.17 million, a decrease of 861,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,750 from 5.033 million to 5.035 million.

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The agency also announced the award of six “Dislocated Worker Grants” (DWGs) totaling more than $10 million to help address the workforce-related impacts of the public health emergency related to the coronavirus. These awards are funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provided $345 million for DWGs to prevent, prepare for and respond to coronavirus.

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Weekly Jobless Claims: 3.8 Million, Topping 30 Million For the Past Six Weeks

The economic impact from the coronavirus continues to negatively impact employment.

New weekly statistics from the Labor Department reveal more than 3.8 million people filed for unemployment claims for the seven-day period ended April 25. That was down more than 600,000 claims filed during the previous week ended April 18.

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Since the coronavirus pandemic began impacting the economy, more than 30 million people have filed for unemployment benefits.

The government added 15,000 claims to the previous-week period to 4.44 million. Over the past four weeks, an average of 5 million people weekly have filed for benefits. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 12.4% through April 18.

The job losses underscore the nation’s economy, which declined 4.8% in the first quarter — the biggest drop since the Great Recession in 2008.

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