First time applications for unemployment benefits jumped in the last week to the highest level in about three months months as coronavirus cases spiked in multiple parts of the country and delays from Thanksgiving finally caught up with the systems. Initial claims jumped to 853,000 from last weeks 736,000 in the seven days ending on December 5th. Expert estimates were lower, with them expecting abou 720,000 after seasonal adjustments. There were another 427,600 applications for benefits through temporary federal unemployment that ends with 2020.
Jobless claims have been a good measurement of the rise and fall of unemployment numbers during the pandemic, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the numbers of actual individuals applying may be inflated because of possible double counting, instances of fraud, or “other problems”. They claim they are making steps to improve the data and claim the report is not entirely accurate but have yet to give any proof as to these charges. Even so experts say that even if this is true that you should look at the direction of the numbers more so than the total number of applications.
While new jobless claims fell in Louisiana, one of the states hardest hit during the summer by the coronavirus, other states are now seeing increases. With rapid case growth in states like California, Texas, New York, and Illinois it’s not a surprise that jobless claims there rose as well.
The total number of people receiving benefits through state programs rose for the first time in three months by 230,000 to the seasonally adjusted total of 5.76 million through November 28th. Continuing claims in the federal program fell by about 36,000 to 4.53 million through November 17th. Those are the most current data sets out at this time.
Since August, claims to the federal system have more than tripled as people have exhausted their state benefits and have shifted to federal ones. It is generally seen as the reality of long term unemployment maybe the new reality for many. The data delay issue normally seen at the end of the year is also causing a problem but should be cleared up by early January.
These federal claims have more than tripled since August, however, as people who’ve exhausted state benefits shift to the federal program. It’s a sign that a growing number of Americans are threatened with long-term unemployment.