Thursday, September 2, 2021

Jobless claims show continuing improvement, now well within normal expansion range


 - by New Deal democrat

Way back at the beginning of spring, I set a goal of initial claims being 400,000 or less by Labor Day as a marker for a good COVID recovery - which I was reminded of because the aforesaid holiday is this weekend. Well, we blew through that a while ago, and at this point all of the jobless claims markers are well within the range of a normal expansion.

This week initial jobless claims declined 14,000 to 340,000. The 4 week average of claims declined by 11,750 to 355,000. Both set new pandemic lows:

The same is true for continuing claims, which declined 160,000 to another new pandemic low of 2,748,000:

From the long term perspective, below is the current level of continuing claims  (blue), together with the 4 week average of initial claims* (red), and the unemployment rate from last week’s jobs report* (gold)(*adjusted for scale)(all current values = zero). All of these are consistent with well-established expansions over the past 40 years:

Surprisingly, so far the awful outbreak under the Delta variant has had no apparent effect on either initial or continued claims at all.

All of the remaining emergency pandemic programs have either already expired or are about to expire this month. I don’t expect to see an effect from that in tomorrow’s payrolls report, but next month it will be interesting to see if the number of unemployed, plus the number people not even in the labor force, jumps substantially. 

Tomorrow’s jobs report should show another substantial gain. But with such a substantial monthly variance as has been apparent this year, I won’t even hazard a guess.