Unemployment Claims Rise For the First Time Since May


Both initial and continued unemployment claims rose this week. Continued claims rose for the first time since May.

Job Warning Lights Flashing

Signs that the economic recovery is over already continue to mount. 

Continued claims rose from 16,151,000 to 17,018,000 for the week ending July 18. 

Initial claims rose for the second week.

Initial State Unemployment Claims

Initial state Claims July 30 Data

After trending lower for 16 weeks, initial claims rose last last week and rose again this week.

Note: My Initial Claims and Continued Claims charts are Seasonally-Adjusted. The following PUA and Totals are NOT Seasonally-Adjusted.

Four Continued Claim Factors

  1. Continued claims lag initial claims by a week.
  2. People can find a job and drop off the unemployment rolls.
  3. People can expire their benefits and drop off the rolls.
  4. People can retire and drop off the rolls.

Unemployment Compensation Basics

This is week 19 of the pandemic.

Workers in most states get 26 weeks of unemployment benefits according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 

  • Workers in most states are eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits from the regular state-funded unemployment compensation program,
  • Six states provide fewer weeks and one provides more.
  • Under the CARES Act responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, all states provide 13 additional weeks of federally funded Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance (PEUC) benefits to people who exhaust their regular state benefits.
  • There are additional weeks of federally funded EB in states with high unemployment (up to 13 or 20 weeks depending on state laws).
  • The maximum weeks of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for exhaustees equals 39 minus the number of weeks of regular UI and Extended Benefits (EB) received. 
  • No PEUC or PUA is available after December 31, 2020.

State Exceptions

  • Massachusetts provides up to 30 weeks of UI except when a federal extended benefits program is in place (as it is now) or in periods of low unemployment (as was the case through February), when the maximum drops to 26 weeks.
  • Montana provides up to 28 weeks of UI.
  • Michigan normally provides up to 20 weeks of UI, but in the COVID-19 emergency that has risen to 26 weeks.
  • South Carolina and Missouri provide up to 20 weeks of UI.
  • Arkansas provides up to 16 weeks of regular benefits.
  • Kansas was providing 16 weeks of UI before COVID-19, but that has been extended to 26 weeks through April 2021;
  • Alabama currently provides up to 14 weeks of UI for new enrollees, with an additional five-week extension for those enrolled in a state-approved training program;
  • Georgia was providing 14 weeks of UI, but in the COVID-19 emergency that has risen to 26 weeks;
  • Florida currently provides up to 12 weeks of UI; and
  • North Carolina currently provides up to 12 weeks of UI.

Expired State Benefits 

  1. Alabama
  2. Florida
  3. North Carolina

Benefits South Carolina and Missouri expire after one more week for those impacted at the onset.

State Claims Provide Incomplete Picture

State claims do not provide a complete picture because many people, are not eligible for unemployment insurance.

For example, self-employed are not eligible for state unemployment insurance even though they pay into the system.

The self-employed and small businesses were eligible for loans that in some conditions will not have to be paid back. The self-employed are also eligible for 13 weeks of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance (PEUC) but that may have expired.

Primary PUA Claims

Primary PUA Claims in 2020 July 30 Report

Primary PUA covers those who are not eligible to make state claims. The report lags initial claims by 2 weeks and continued claims by 1 week.

Based on state initial claims and state reopenings in reverse, I expect this number to rise in the weeks ahead but seasonality may skew the numbers otherwise.

All Continued Claims

All Continued Claims in 2020 July 30 Report

All continued claims is the sum of state continued claims plus PUA claims and all other Federal programs.

Over 30 million people collect some form of unemployment insurance.

Double Counting?

Some suggest the "all continued claims" report double counts. It doesn't. People are eligible for benefits at the state level or federal level but not both.

However, all continued claims is a poor measure of the unemployment rate because it includes part-time workers as well as other workers who do not meet the official category of unemployed. 

Unemployment Reference Week

The BLS measures unemployment by survey in the week that includes the 13th of the month.

For July, that is the week ending July 18. Continued claims are 17,018,000. This compares to 19,231,000 for June.

Over 30 Million People About Unemployment Benefits

As noted on Sunday the Clock Just Ran Out on $600 in Weekly Unemployment Benefits.

Roughly 30 million people are receiving some form of pandemic aid.

Cutback Details

  • The GOP proposes to cut the enhanced unemployment benefit from $600 to $200 per week through September. That is in addition to what recipients get from states unemployment insurance.
  • The GOP also proposes to set the maximum assistance at 70% of a worker’s previous wages, with a cap of $500 per week.

Those with no pay or little pay will be hammered this week.

"So Far Apart on Covid Deal That We Don't Really Care"

These are huge numbers, especially those who received no pay at all. 

Nonetheless, Trump says "We are So Far Apart on a Covid Deal That We Don't Really Care"

Philosophically Speaking

Philosophically, people should not make more being unemployed than employed.

Politically speaking, the Republicans just stepped on a landmine.

"We Don't Really Care" - That Says it All.

Over 62 Million People Had No Pay Last Week

Yesterday, I commented Over 62 Million People Had No Pay Last Week

Those are not-retired people who reported having no pay last week.

87.333 million people expect an income loss in the next four weeks. Income loss is by household, not individually.

Data is from Household Pulse Surveys by the Census Bureau.

Click on the above link for five related charts.


Comments (50)
No. 1-15

Income loss due to buying an iPhone, and subscribing to all sorts of optional services.

ROFL. Throw these people to the wall.

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

"Initial claims rose for the second week."


The 4 week moving average INCREASED.

The Bulltards screeching V recovery (for H2) back in April / May have some 'splaining.


Local news for Portland, OR, reports that Nike is going to lay-off 500 workers permanently. They are "downsizing". Maybe, these people will end up in downtown Portland? I luv the smell of burning tires in the morning.


I sincerely doubt all those low-income wage earners are splurging on iPhones when they are living paycheck to paycheck and have to go to food banks. In any case, the country is in a depression and the 130 million out of work are going to be very angry. (The 100 million are left over from the Great Recession and gave up looking.) And the 25 million left homeless are probably coming to your town/city soon with their tents since they couldn't pay their car loans--which were in arrears before the pandemic hit. A little less stupidity and a better grasp of the enormity of the crisis might save your ass.


I see long term layoffs have now started in earnest. This with unemployment already in double digits. It turns out even most productive companies don't need as many people as they use unless the US consumer returns. Each company is also laying off a consumer.


Stick a fork in Macy's and Nordstrums. The shares short are 40% to 50% and the charts looks like they are going lower. Amazon and Shopify are killing these guys.


That will be at least another 100k of unemployed looking to work in an Amazon Warehouse or driver an Amazon van. Just think of all the real estate taxes these companies paid to the local city. Also the local state income taxes. The local city budgets will get hit too as these stores shut down

Dodge Demon
Dodge Demon

So what are these jobs that are open because the unemployment malingerers are getting checks?

Any employers willing to pay one ounce of silver per hour under the table? Asking for a friend!


I get the idea that 70 percent wage match is to (urge) people to go back to work. But with the huge number of people out of work i would think it would not help generate demand get the economy moving again. Just slowing the fall.


The US economy is going nowhere until the US crushes the Covid pandemic, like so many other countries. Trump should call up Merkel, Trudeau, Abe etc and ask them “How are you doing so well in controlling the pandemic, because it’s out-of-control here in the US?”

Today’s Numbers

Daily Cases:Daily Deaths

Germany 842:9

Canada 329:12

Japan 1148:3

USA 68,569:1465

Maybe he should stop golfing and tweeting, and start leading.

Worst President ever.


Economy and it's usual rot,yawn!The question one needs to ask,how long can this massive govt continue to function when you have an economy that basically been dead/collapsed for over a decade? DC borrowing a trillion $ a month with GDP that's been deep negative (real number) since 09,how soon before the federal govt is borrowing a trillion dollar week or even a day??


The Hartford Courant reported Raytheon Technologies quietly announced 8000 layoffs in its Collins Aerospace and Pratt/Whitney divisions. So you can bet there will be at least 500 local machinists affected.


GDP back to normal by Q3 :

V-shaped recovery. With muppets leading the way, this country will never be down.


They should be able to find new jobs very quickly. There are Help Wanted signs everywhere in that part of Connecticut. The NYC and New England regions will lead the recovery

Global Economics