Unemployment Claims Jump To Highest Level Since September

Initial unemployment claims jumped by 137,000 to 853,000. That's the highest since a string of 800,000+ numbers in September.

Biggest Rise in Initial Claims Since March

The 137,000 jump was the largest since the 3.56 million surge on March 28.

Initial claims have risen three of the last four weeks. They bottomed at 711,000 on November 7.

Continued Unemployment Claims

Continued state unemployment Claims in 2020 Dec 10 Report

Continued claims rose to 5,757,000 from 5,527,000, an increase of 30,000. 

That is the first increase since August 29.

Continued claims, like Initial claims, are seasonally adjusted. 

Continued claims are understated. People fall off the roles as benefits expire. Millions have now expired benefits.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Claims (PEUC)

PEUC Claims in 2020 Dec 10 Report

PEUC claims lag continued claims by a week, They are not seasonally adjusted.

PEUC benefits kick in after people have exhausted regular state benefits. 

PEUC claims had risen every week since August, until now. They declined only because people expired their state benefits.

Despite the lags and the seasonal adjustment mix, you can get a better feel for the true state of affairs by adding PEU claims to continued claims

Due to expiring even adding the two together understates the problem by millions.

PUA Claims

Primary PUA Claims in 2020 Dec 10 Report

PUA claims cover part-time workers and self-employed. They are not seasonally adjusted.

This program is rife with fraud, double-counting, and reporting errors. 

All Continued Claims in 2020

All Continued Claims in 2020 Dec 10 Report

All continued claims is the total of everything above except initial claims.

Since it contains PUA claims this number is also rife with fraud, double-counting, and reporting errors.

Expiring Benefits

The PEUC and PUA programs expire completely on December 26.

Expect Congress to have a package by then, but the details are subject to negotiation.

Democrats and Republicans have been bickering over this since September. 

For discussion, please see Desire to Reach a Deal and Doing It are Two Different Things.

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Moon Kil Woong 1 month ago Contributor's comment

Don't expect unemployment claims to drop off unless there is an artificial mechanism to stop or deny people. The employment environment has not improved markedly and SME businesses continue to go under or shrink in size. Global trade improvement is the brightest short term hope to begin to reverse this next year.