Jobless claims: continued slow progress

A quick note about the first report of Q3 GDP released this morning: the rebound is only about 2/3’s of the decline from last year. We are still about 3.5% below that number. On a *relative* basis, this was a “good” number, but on an absolute basis, this is still quite depressed.

This week’s new jobless claims continued to decline further below 800,000, and continued claims also made a new pandemic low.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, new jobless claims declined by 28,354 to 732,223. This would be a new pandemic low, except October 3’s number was revised to 731,249. Seasonally adjusted claims declined by 40,000 to 751,000, a new pandemic low. The 4 week moving average also decreased by 25,000 to 787,250, also a new pandemic low:

Here is a close-up of the last three months since the end of July highlighting the slower progress in initial claims since then:


Continuing claims (which lag initial claims typically by a few weeks to several months) on a non-adjusted basis declined by 662,405 to 7,422,454. With seasonal adjustment they declined by 709,000 to 7,756,000. Both of these are new pandemic lows:

Continuing claims are now about 2/3’s below their worst level from the beginning of May, but are still about 1 million higher than their worst levels during the Great Recession.

Generally, the situation with layoffs has continued to improve at a slow pace. This is of a piece with the same slow continued improvement in most of the “weekly indicators” I update each Saturday. But with infections setting new daily highs, and hospitalizations also rising, even before the onset of winter, I am concerned – and indeed expect – that jobless claims will start to rise again in the next 1 – 2 months.