- by New Deal democrat
New claims increased 23,000 last week to 230,000. The 4 week average of new claims increased 6,250 to 210,750:
The big increase is likely affected by seasonality. It’ll be another week or two before we can tell if there is any real change in trend. If there is, it is likely to be a flattening in new claims rather than any significant increase.
Continuing claims for jobless benefits, meanwhile, declined by 194,000, to 1,559,000:
This is a new 45+ year record low. There haven’t been continuing claims this low since 1974, when the US population was half of what it is now, as shown in the graph below that subtracts 1,559,000 from the actual number:
Last week I wrote: “I don’t know if initial claims will go any lower, but I suspect continuing claims will continue to decline to or even below their 2018-19 levels.” Wow! Only one week later and the forecast is already correct. I expect even further declines in continuing claims, until the extreme tightness in the labor market brought about by the pandemic starts to loosen its hold.