Unemployment Claims Higher Than Estimates: 2.981M in a Week, Coronavirus Tally Is 36.5M

UTC by Teuta Franjkovic · 3 min read
Unemployment Claims Higher Than Estimates: 2.981M in a Week, Coronavirus Tally Is 36.5M
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Another 3 million people filed initial unemployment claims last week. That brings the total number of first-time claimants to 36.5 million since mid-March.

New filings for unemployment claims in the United States came to around 3 million for the most recent reporting period even though the number is falling for the sixth straight week, it is still way out of expected, according to Labor Department figures Thursday.

The total of 2.981 million new claims for unemployment insurance filed last week brought the COVID-19 pandemic to nearly 36.5 million, by far the biggest loss in American history. The number calculated last week was revised up by 7,000 to 3.176 million, putting the weekly decline at 195,000 between the two most recent reports.

COVID-19 Impact on Unemployment Claims Number Bigger Than Estimated

However, as we’ve already mentioned, economists gathered by Dow Jones poll have been estimating the latest number of new claims to hover around 2.7 million. It seems that the coronavirus outbreak affected the U.S. economy much more than it was thought at the first place.

The stock market opened lower as well, following those reports and the claimings of U.S. President Donald Trump who, among other things, said America doesn’t plan to renegotiate with China about the trade deal. He stated that China should have stopped the coronavirus spread immediately at its source.

While the numbers have been decreasing since the March 28 peak, unemployment stays inescapable through the U.S. even as states continue to come back online slowly following the economic shutdown.

Higher Unemployment Than Post WWII

The Labor Department already admitted the loss of 20.5 million jobs in April. This made the unemployment rate grow to 14.7%. Both of those numbers represent post-World War II highs.

As per the latest figures, those deranged still haven’t been brought back to work under the halt that should have been lasting for weeks but now have prolonged for almost two months. Continuing claims rose by 456,000 to a record 22.83 million, after the last week’s total was adjusted down to 22.38 million.

The four-week moving average, which is used to unwind weekly volatility, also seasoned by 2.7 million to 19.76 million.

Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group explains:

“The numbers are still alarming of course but with more reopenings occurring in the coming months they should continue to recede.”

He added that those removed by social distancing measures during the COVID-19 outbreak had to sail their way through an often difficult storm of state offices that definitely weren’t ready nor outfitted for managing the avalanche of filings.

In the most recent reporting period, through May 9, the biggest rise came from Connecticut, which saw 262,542 new coronavirus infected cases, according to numbers not adjusted for seasonal factors. Most other states saw certain fallings in adjusted numbers, with the biggest drops coming from Texas (-102,263) and California (-102,229).

Better Data as Lockdowns Ease

The insured unemployment rate, which is a simple calculation of those filing claims against the total size of the workforce, rose 0.3 percentage points to 15.7%.

While the total number stays pretty high, most analysts estimate the employment structure to become better as more states begin loosening lockdowns.

“With most states only beginning to ease their lockdowns within the last 10 days, we expect a much bigger swing in hiring versus firing over the next couple of weeks, which suggests the unemployment rate will begin to drop back,” stated Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

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Teuta Franjkovic

Experienced creative professional focusing on financial and political analysis, editing daily newspapers and news sites, economical and political journalism, consulting, PR and Marketing. Teuta’s passion is to create new opportunities and bring people together.

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