The good news for both initial and continued claims continued this week.
Initial jobless claims rose 4,000 to 353,000 from last week’s pandemic low. The 4 week average of claims declined by 11,500 to 366,500, another new pandemic low:
Significant progress in the decline of initial claims had stalled for the last 2 months, but that has ended.
The story is the same for continuing claims, which declined 3,000 to another new pandemic low of 2,862,000 (with last week’s preliminary estimate of 2820,000 being revised substantially higher):
This continues this series’ recent declining trend that began on May 29. As I have noted before, this may reflect the termination of special pandemic benefits in many States, the impact of $15 minimum wages and signing bonuses being offered, or other items.
From the long term perspective, below is the current level of continuing claims (blue), together with the 4 week average of initial claims* (red), and the unemployment rate from last week’s jobs report* (gold)(*adjusted for scale)(all current values = zero). The first two are consistent with early- to mid-expansions over the past 40 years, while the unemployment rate is consistent with mid-expansion or later:
Surprisingly, so far the awful outbreak under the Delta variant has had no apparent effect on either initial or continued claims at all. While they are by no means consistent with full employment, claims are in a good spot, relatively speaking.