Weekly Jobless Claims Hit Lowest Level Since March

Weekly Jobless Claims Hit Lowest Level Since March

According to the latest data from the Labor Department, last week’s jobless claims came in below what Wall Street forecasted, and represent the lowest weekly jobless claims since the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns began ravaging the U.S. economy in March.

As CNBC reports:

  • Jobless claims totaled 709,000 last week, the Labor Department reported, below the 740,000 Wall Street forecast.
  • That represented a decline from the 757,000 total a week ago.
  • More than 21 million Americans are still collecting benefits, though the total is declining gradually.

To clarify; weekly jobless claims are not on net basis – i.e. it doesn’t mean that there were 709,000 jobs lost last week – it means that 709,000 people filed for unemployment without accounting for how many people gained employment during the same time period. We don’t get the full picture until the jobs report is released on the first Friday of every month.

Prior to the pandemic, the U.S. economy peaked in February with 153.5 million Americans employed. That fell to a low of 130.3 million in April and has since recovered slightly more than halfway to 142.3 million employed. While still not a full recovery, the U.S. economy didn’t suffer as sharp a contraction as our neighbors across the Atlantic, and is recovering at a faster pace.

TheĀ U.S. economyĀ declined less than analysts expected it would due to the coronavirus, and has recovered faster than the experts predicted. As of September the U.S. unemployment rate was lower than analysts from Americaā€™s top financial institutions expected it would be by SeptemberĀ of next year.

Daily chart - America's economy is recovering faster than expected | Graphic detail | The Economist

While the economy is recovering from the coronavirus, it has been an uneven recovery. Just the News’ Carrie Sheffield ran the numbers last month and found that the unemployment rate in blue states is 10.5% compared to 6.6% in red states, meaning unemployment is nearly 60% higher in blue states than red. Nationally the unemployment rate was 7.8% at the time, meaning red states are outperforming the nation as a whole in their recovery.

Of the ten states with the lowest unemployment rates, nine are led by Republican governors. The inverse is true of the ten states with the highest unemployment rates, nineĀ  of which are run by Democrat governors.

Call me crazy, but Iā€™m starting to notice a pattern hereā€¦

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