Yesterday’s ADP report suggested a very bumpy jobs market and an unpleasant surprise in tomorrow’s BLS jobs report. However, today’s report on initial jobless claims ended up being a more pleasant surprise. After a rise in claims the previous week, claims in the week ending July 25 dropped sharply to 1.186 million, well below analyst expectations of a repeat from week ending July 18.
That is officially the lowest number yet reported in the COVID-19 pandemic, even though it’s still well over a million, far above previous non-pandemic records. The Department of Labor report contained even better news further in (emphasis mine):
In the week ending August 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1,186,000, a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 1,434,000 to 1,435,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,337,750, a decrease of 31,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 1,368,500 to 1,368,750.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 11.0 percent for the week ending July 25, a decrease of 0.6 percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 25 was 16,107,000, a decrease of 844,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 67,000 from 17,018,000 to 16,951,000. The 4-week moving average was 16,628,250, a decrease of 413,250 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 16,750 from 17,058,250 to 17,041,500.