Initial claims for unemployment filed in state unemployment programs totaled 881,000 for the week ended August 29, the Labor Department reported today.
On a seasonally adjusted basis.
Unfortunately, due to a change in the way the Department of Labor calculates that seasonal adjustment, this week’s number is not comparable to the 1.01 million reported in the prior week. (The seasonally adjusted and unadjusted totals have been increasingly divergent in recent weeks. Something has been clearly wrong with the formula used to calculate the seasonally adjusted total.)
Using the unadjusted numbers, new claims rose last week with 833,000 workers filing new claims for unemployment, up from the unadjusted total of 826,000 in the prior week.
Additionally 759,000 new claims were filed last week by unemployed freelancers, part-time workers and self-employed workers who are not eligible for the regular state-run unemployment programs but who received federal benefits under a separate program. That’s up from 608,000 new claims under this program in the prior week.
That’s a total of almost 1.6 million new claims under both programs for the week ended August 29. That’s a huge number of new claims for this stage in the coronavirus crisis.
One new concern voiced by economist Eliza Winger at Bloomberg today is that “By the end of September, the number of Americans receiving jobless benefits will start to decline at a faster clip–not a sign of an employment recovery picking up, but rather the expiration of benefits” in state unemployment programs.