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This morning the Labor Department reported that another 870,000 workers filed new applications for state-run unemployment insurance for the week ended September 19. (That’s on a adjusted basis.) That compares to 866,000 initial claims in the prior week.
Another 630,000 people filed new claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the federal program for self-employed and gig workers.

The total number of people claiming unemployment insurance dropped to 26 million for the week ending September 5 That’s a drop of more than 3.5 million but some of that drop is a result of workers exhausting their state unemployment eligibility, which can last for as little as 12 weeks  (plus a 13-week extension from the Federal government.)

I love this quote from an economist on Bloomberg: “The data are so messed up that it’s important to not make too much of individual movements week to week, but the broad story really is we still have a lot of people needing new UI [unemployment insurance] claims and that are depending on that.”

From the “data are a mess” perspective, the important takeaway from today’s numbers is that momentum in the labor market to add new jobs has stalled with huge numbers of workers still unemployed.

And this, I’d note comes while warm weather still allows many businesses to operate outdoors. The damage to employment (further rounds of layoffs), especially at restaurants, from cold weather is still pending.