Jobless Claims Hold Steady As Recovery Stalls


Another 837,000 people filed new unemployment claims last week—it’s the fifth week in a row that claims have remained close to this level, which is much lower than the eye-watering unemployment data from earlier this spring but still higher than the record for weekly claims prior to the coronavirus crisis.

Key Facts

In addition to the 837,000 new regular claims, another 650,120 people filed new claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides benefits to self-employed workers, gig workers, and others not eligible for traditional state benefits.

Last week’s data do not include numbers from California, which has implemented a two-week pause in claims processing while it catches up on a backlog and improves its computer system—this means that the data reported by the Labor Department Thursday is at least slightly too low.

For the four weeks prior to last week, new weekly claims also clocked in somewhere between 800,000 and 900,000 people, indicating that the labor market’s recovery has slowed significantly since the summer.

Before the coronavirus crisis, the record for the most weekly claims was 695,000 during a single week in 1982.

Big Number

26.5 million. That’s how many people are collecting some form of government unemployment benefit.

Key Background

A handful of corporate giants announced major rounds of layoffs this week. Disney’s theme park arm said Wednesday that it would eliminate 28,000 jobs, and investment bank Goldman Sachs announced that it would lay off 400 people the same day. After federal aid to the airline industry expired on Wednesday, American Airlines said it would furlough 19,000 employees and United Airlines plans to furlough 13,000.

What To Watch For

On Friday, the government will release employment data for the month of September.

Further Reading

Stimulus Update: Mnuchin Says Next Bill To Include $1,200 Checks ‘If There Is A Deal,’ Offers Pelosi $1.6 Trillion (Forbes)

No Second Stimulus Deal Today: House Democrats Move To Vote On Their Own Bill, McConnell Throws Cold Water On Talks (Forbes)

Comments are closed.