What Does That Mean?
The answer depends on future revisions and trends which we do not know yet.
Two weeks ago initial jobless claims dipped to a reported 793,000 for the weekending February 6.
Last week, the BLS revised February 6 to 848,000 claims with the February 13 at 861,000.
Today the BLS says February 13 is 841,000 with the week ending February 20 down to 730,000.
It's anyone's guess what the BLS will say a week from now about today's big dip. More on that below but first let's discuss continued claims.
Continued State Unemployment Claims
We have seen slow progress in continued unemployment claims but much of this is masked by people expiring all of their state benefits and falling off the roles onto various federal programs.
The federal numbers are so skewed by fraud, reporting errors, and double counting distortions that I stopped posting them.
Continued claims lag initial claims by a week. We will have a better idea of today's initial claims improvement by watching revisions next week and improvements in continued claims.
Powell Says the True Unemployment Rate is Actually 10%
Fed Chair Jerome Powell says the True Unemployment Rate is Actually 10%.
That is far more believable than the BLS assertion that the unemployment rate is down to 6.3%.
However, Powell went off the deep end regarding one of the alleged cures. Please click on the above link for discussion.
Whether or not today's report is a mirage, vaccinations will come into play. The quicker people get vaccinations the quicker lockdowns and restrictions will end.
That in turn will impact both initial and continued claims. The worst is likely behind, but the recovery will still be slow in many industries, especially airlines, restaurants, and travel.
Many people are working from home and there will be less corporate business travel as well.
US Way Ahead of the EU on Vaccinations
Compared to the rest of the G-7 group of countries, the US is doing very well in vaccinations. Compared to Israel, the rest of the world lags.
For discussion, please see Alaska and New Mexico Lead in Vaccinations, Utah is Dead Last.
The phrase "new normal" is widely overused but it sure applies here.
Many things will not return to where they were, especially the need for office space, mall traffic (on a secular decline anyway), and corporate travel.
I suggest the Fed made a huge mistake, and if so, it's way too late to rectify.