Initial Unemployment Claims Are On the Rise Again


Initial unemployment claims rose for the fourth time in five weeks.

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 State Unemployment Claims in 2020 2020-11-17 Report

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 in 2020 2020-11-17 Report

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 Calism in 2020 2020-11-17 Report

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

Primary PUA Claims in 2020 2020-11-17 Report

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 in 2020 2020-11-17 Report

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.

Expiring Benefits

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

Note that 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. 

I Expect the Most Evictions in History as Ban Expires.


Comments (39)
No. 1-6

That is what happens when you force businesses to close to battle Covid. I hope business owners remember who gave the orders when the next elections come around.

This looks cozy!


In 45 tweets this week (so far) the president has not said a single word about the record deaths from COVID. Or economic stimulus. Or the Russian hack. Not. One. Word. Instead, it is an endless litany of complaints, self-aggrandizement, and conspiracy theorizing.

From Bulwark: We have never seen a dereliction of duty at this scale from an American president. With citizens dying by the thousands every single day and the federal government being raided by the intelligence services belonging to his good friend, he pouts and rages and tweets and tries to overturn a free and fair election in order to break our democratic republic.

There is no precedent for this. No historical analog to help us understand the scale of destruction and the level of irresponsibility, stupidity, and derangement.

At least not in American history.


Back on Dec 6th, I said something was off on the vaccine numers....

In Wapo, today....Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said anticipated shipments to the state in the next two weeks had been cut roughly in half. The uncertainty was even more pronounced in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said new shipments from Pfizer were “on hold,” as officials in his administration reported their expected allocation disappearing entirely in Tiberius, the online tracking system the federal government uses to coordinate vaccine distribution with the states. Fred Piccolo Jr., a spokesman for DeSantis, said the numbers had come back online by Thursday but had been reduced significantly.

“It’s 40 percent less than we were originally thinking,” Washington state Health Secretary John Wiesman said. “We thought we were getting 74,100 and now we are planning for 44,850 doses.”

Maine said it is receiving about 40 percent fewer doses than expected — 8,775 rather than 13,650. The state will not be able to fully launch its program next week to vaccinate residents and staff of all long-term-care facilities, said Robert Long, a spokesman for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Michael Pratt, an HHS spokesperson, denied any changes to “numbers locked in with states” and said the government was still on track to allocate enough vaccine for about 20 million people to receive their first doses by year’s end.

“Each week, [Operation Warp Speed] will let states know how many doses are available to order against for the coming week,” he said.

The senior administration official said moving up the notice to Tuesday was the reason for the one-week shortfall, as “we are sending doses that have been produced, verified and released.”

Wiesman, of Washington state, said he could appreciate Operation Warp Speed’s decision to provide numbers of verified doses only, as opposed to an estimate of what might be available by week’s end. But he said states can’t plan without a longer-term sense of what they will receive, which has been impossible because of changing estimates from the pharmaceutical companies and from Operation Warp Speed.


The economy and jobs cannot make a comeback as long as the pandemic is raging out-of-control in the US. Where is Trump? For 9 months he downplayed the pandemic and claimed it was a media hoax. With 300k Americans dead and another 100k by inauguration day, he continues to completely ignore it, while whining and complaining about the election. Worst President ever.


Off Topic but interesting.

It’s started.
Just got an email from the people that run my trading platform for my Sipp.

“The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced that from 6 January 2021, only professional investors will be able to purchase cryptoassets.
This means that from 16:00 on 5 January 2021, you will no longer be able to purchase cryptoassets with EQi.
Cryptoassets can be subject to extreme volatility and high risk, the FCA is therefore introducing a UK-wide ban on their purchase by private investors.
This ban will apply to all EQi customers although if you already hold cryptoassets, you will not be required to sell them and can continue to hold them as part of your portfolio. Some cryptoassets cannot be held within an ISA; if this affects you, we will contact you directly.”


A terrifying coalition of big business and big tech are so confident and brazen they are promising the public “you will own nothing, and you will be happy” in an advertising campaign for a global reset, according to Sky News host Rowan Dean.

Global Economics