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New claims for unemployment in regular state-run programs fell to an adjusted 709,000 in the week ended on November 7. That was down 48,000 from the prior week. On an unadjusted basis, the figure fell by 21,000.

Continuing claims–the total number of Americans claiming state unemployment assistance–fell by 436,000 to 6.79 million in the week ended October 31. (Yes, the two data series don’t align.) But the number of people claiming support in a Federal program offering extended benefits for 13 weeks continued to increase as more Americans exhausted their regular state benefits after 26 weeks (or less in some states.) The number of Americans receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, the Federal 13-week program for those who have exhausted state benefits, increased about 160,000 to 4.14 million in the week ended October 24.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had projected 731,000 initial claims for this period and 6.83 million continuing claims for unemployment.

In addition continuing claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a pandemic stimulus program that provides benefits to self-employed and gig workers, increased about 101,000 to 9.43 million.

In total, 21.2 million Americans were claiming some kind of unemployment benefit  during the week ended October 24.

Two really worrying trends to consider.

First, much of the recent improvement in the employment/unemployment picture has come from industries such as restaurants that are extremely vulnerable to any renewed restriction on operations due to the current surge in coronavirus infections.

Second, the number of unemployment workers who have been out of work for six months or longer rose by 50% on October to 3.6 million to now account for about one third of total unemployment. Economists say that long-term unemployment is extremely damaging to the ability of workers to find a new job.