Totally expected, and yet devastating nonetheless. Over the last four weeks, 17 million Americans have lost their jobs to the COVID-19 shutdown. The only consolation is that the pace slowed slightly from the previous week — and that this is, to some extent, a lagging indicator:
In the week ending April 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 6,606,000, a decrease of 261,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 219,000 from 6,648,000 to 6,867,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,265,500, an increase of 1,598,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 54,750 from 2,612,000 to 2,666,750.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 5.1 percent for the week ending March 28, an increase of 3.0 percentage points from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 28 was 7,455,000, an increase of 4,396,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted insured unemployment in the history of the seasonally adjusted series. The previous high was 6,635,000 in May of 2009. The previous week’s level was revised up 30,000 from 3,029,000 to 3,059,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,500,000, an increase of 1,439,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 7,500 from 2,053,500 to 2,061,000.
Bear in mind that some small number of the people who filed these claims over the last four weeks might have found other work. That won’t be a million of them, let alone 17 million of them, however, which means that the adjustment would be microscopic at best. With a workforce of 156 million Americans, it means that we have added 11 points to the unemployment rate in just a month.