At least we finally dropped under three million on this weekly metric, but that’s the only good news from the Department of Labor. Last week, 2.98 million Americans applied for jobless benefits, down from last week’s 3.169 million but still a level that would have been a record itself in pre-pandemic times. The number of benefit receivers grew by almost a half million as well, going well past 22 million and growing:
In the week ending May 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 2,981,000, a decrease of 195,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 7,000 from 3,169,000 to 3,176,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,616,500, a decrease of 564,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 7,000 from 4,173,500 to 4,180,500.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 15.7 percent for the week ending May 2, an increase of 0.3 percentage point from the previous week’s revised rate. The previous week’s rate was revised down by 0.1 from 15.5 to 15.4 percent. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 2 was 22,833,000, an increase of 456,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 270,000 from 22,647,000 to 22,377,000. The 4-week moving average was 19,760,000, an increase of 2,729,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 67,500 from 17,097,750 to 17,030,250.
As CNBC notes, that pushes the total number of claims during the shutdown to over 36 million. Not all of those remain unemployed, but clearly at least two-thirds of them do, and probably a lot more than that. The trend is slowing, but it’s not slowing enough or as much as economists expected this week: