It’s beginning to look a lot like … Easter, at least on the economic front. After several months of faster-than-expected recovery to the COVID-19 crater in the jobs market, red lights are again flashing that another crater might be ahead. As support programs run out of cash and Congress remains stalled, weekly initial jobless claims rose again, and again more than expected:
In the week ending November 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 778,000, an increase of 30,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 6,000 from 742,000 to 748,000. The 4-week moving average was 748,500, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,500 from 742,000 to 743,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 4.1 percent for the week ending November 14, a decrease of 0.2 percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 14 was 6,071,000, a decrease of 299,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 2,000 from 6,372,000 to 6,370,000. The 4-week moving average was 6,615,250, a decrease of 438,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 1,250 from 7,054,500 to 7,053,250.
The continued decrease of those receiving paid benefits might still be good news, but it also might just be that some are no longer eligible to receive them. State programs are nearing their limits after several months of eligibility, and that means we will soon have more workers sidelined with less access to support. That is a very big problem, both socially and economically, in an economy built on consumer spending.