Initial Unemployment Claims Are On the Rise Again
4-Week Moving Average in Initial Claims
The best way to spotlight trends in initial claims is to look at the 4-week moving average.
I added that chart for this week's report.
The 4-week moving average trend lower bottomed two weeks ago at 740,000 and is now 812,500.
It rose for the second consecutive week. That hasn't happened since April 18.
Initial State Unemployment Claims in 2020 2020-11-17
Initial unemployment claims are seasonally adjusted. Initial claims were in the 200,000 to 215,000 range pre-pandemic. They are now 855,000.
Continued State Unemployment Claims
Continued state unemployment claims are also seasonally adjusted. They lag initial claims by a week.
Continued claims ticked lower, but this is a statistical mirage.
People fall off the rolls as benefits expire. Millions have now expired benefits.
When people exhaust their state benefits they are eligible for emergency federal benefits.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Claims (PEUC)
PEUC claims lag continued claims by a week, They are not seasonally adjusted.
PEUC benefits kick in after people have exhausted regular state benefits.
Despite the lags and the seasonal adjustment mix, you can get a better feel for the true state of affairs by adding PEU claims to continued claims.
As with continued state claims, millions of workers have exhausted their PEUC benefits as well.
Thus, even the addition of PEUC claims to continued claims understates the problem by millions.
PUA claims cover part-time workers and self-employed. They are not seasonally adjusted.
This program is rife with fraud, double-counting, and reporting errors.
That said, some percentage of PUA claims are not fraudulent. And of that subset, some of those on PUA claims are not working at all.
All Continued Claims in 2020
All continued claims is the total of everything above except initial claims.
Since it contains PUA claims this number is also rife with fraud, double-counting, and reporting errors.
All continued claims are over 20 million and have been every week since April 25 except for the week ending November 28.
The PEUC and PUA programs expire completely on December 26.
Expect Congress to have a package by then, but the details are subject to negotiation.
Democrats and Republicans have been bickering over this since September.
For discussion, please see Desire to Reach a Deal and Doing It are Two Different Things.
More Than 500,000 Restaurants are in Freefall
And in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom passed a three-week stay-at-home order (including shutting down outdoor dining) for parts of the state.
We have not yet seen the impact of that measure nor similar measures in other states.
Expect the Most Evictions in History
The ban on evictions expires in January and it has not been part of the Congressional talks on another Covid package.