Jobless claims: Another 840,000 Americans filed new unemployment claims last week
An additional 840,000 jobless claims were filed in the U.S. last week as the number of Americans applying for unemployment insurance for the first time each week remains at historically high levels.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released its weekly jobless claims report Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Here were the key metrics from the report versus Bloomberg estimates:
First unemployment claims, week ending October 3: 840,000 versus 820,000 expected and 849,000 the previous week
Ongoing Claims Week Ending September 26: 10.976 million versus 11.4 million expected and 11.979 million the previous week
New weekly unemployment insurance claims have fallen below the psychologically important mark of 1 million for the past six consecutive weeks, but have not fallen below 800,000 since the pandemic began. At 840,000, last week's new claims remained at a level that was still well above the pre-pandemic record high of 695,000 set in 1982.
The total number of jobless claims over the past two weeks was also flattered by the lack of updated new claims from California. The state, which has consistently been one of the largest contributors to new weekly claims, announced last week that it would be taking a two-week hiatus from handling the first claims to "reduce its claims processing backlog and implement fraud prevention technology", so Labor statement of the department.
Unemployment claims have remained historically high over the course of the pandemic (David Foster / Yahoo Finance)
In all programs, total unemployment claims decreased in the week ended September 19. The total number of claims stood at 25.5 million, down from 26.5 million the previous week, while fewer self-employed or gig workers were not eligible for regular government programs applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. However, the number of workers receiving benefits under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program, which offers 13 weeks of additional federal benefits to those who previously availed state or federal compensation, rose 154,000 to 1.96 million.
Persistent unemployment claims, which are reported with a one-week delay and represent the total number of people still receiving government unemployment benefits, continued their gradual downward trend last week. But as with new unemployment claims, ongoing claims have held up well above pre-pandemic levels and have not fallen below the 10 million mark in more than 6 months.
“The first registrations fell less than expected last week. The improvement in enduring aspirations reflects attitudes from employees, but also from individuals who take advantage of their benefits, ”Rubeela Farooqi, chief economist, high frequency economics, said in an email. “Overall, the signal from the damage data is still one of the persistently weak conditions on the labor market. Even if the submissions decline, the scores remain extraordinarily high. Employment growth has already slowed, and without tax support to protect jobs, the risks to future payroll are down. "
The latest unemployment claims report emerges from Congress amid dwindling hopes for another round of virus-fighting measures, as Federal Reserve officials are calling for increasingly urgent calls for more tax incentives to more directly assist individual Americans.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he had asked his negotiators to suspend further business stimulus talks until after the election, but added that he would support stand-alone measures that allocate tens of billions of dollars to airline payroll support and the Paycheck Protection Program. House Democrats, however, have previously opposed the idea of slimming down versions of a stimulus package - meaning the prospect of further fiscal stimulus next month remains unlikely.
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck
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