Initial claims for unemployment for the week ended October 3 will total 820,000 in tomorrow’s report from the Department of Labor, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg. That would be a drop from initial claims of 837,000 in the prior week.
The relatively minor decline is likely to intensify concerns that the U.S. economy continues to lose momentum even as continuing claims for unemployment are expected to show 11.4 million workers collecting state benefits. That continuing claims number would itself be a drop from 11.767 million in the prior week but with workers who lost their jobs early in the coronavirus recession starting to lose their benefits in some states, it’s hard to get excited at the decline.
At 820,000, the initial claims number remains well above the pre-coronavirus recession record of 695,000 set in 1982.
This week’s drop is also subject to revision: California has announced a two-week “holiday” from reporting new claims numbers as the state works to reduce a processing backlog. The holiday ends with this week’s report–or failure to report.
The report from the state-run unemployment programs is only part of the unemployment total. Including self-employed and gig workers receiving benefits from the federal government’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program but who are ineligible for the regular state-run unemployment system, the total number of jobless claims, now stands at 26.5 million, economists estimate, up from 26 million in the prior week.