Initial Claims

For the weeks ending August 29, September 5, September 12, and September 17 there were 884,000, 893,000, and 870,000 and 866,000 seasonally-adjusted claims respectively according to the Department of Labor.

Given margins of error on seasonally adjusted data there has been no progress for four weeks.

Continued Claims

Continued State Unemployment Claims in 2020  Sep 24  Report

Continued claims lag initial claims by a week.

For the weeks ending August 29, and September 5, and September 17 there were  13,554,000, 12,747,000, and 12,580,000 seasonally-adjusted claims respectively.

The downward slope (pace of progress) has not changed since May. At the same pace of progress, continued claims will be above 10 million for many months.

It's continued state claims that determine the official unemployment rate, not that anyone of intelligence believes the BLS number.

The reference week for the unemployment report is the week that contains the 13th of the month. That week is the week ending August 15.

For August 15, there were 14,492,000 continued claims. Yet the BLS reported said there were 13,550,000 unemployed in August.

Questioning the Unemployment Rate

Questioning the BLS Unemployment Rate

There should be a minimum of 14,492,000 unemployed plus at least several more million gig and self-employed workers who do not qualify for state unemployment insurance.

The BLS says nope, just 13,550,000.

Next week is the reference week for the September jobs report.

Primary PUA Claims

Primary PUA Claims in 2020  Sep 24 Report

Primary PUA claims are not seasonally adjusted. They lag initial claims by two weeks and continued claims by a week.

Primary PUA claims dropped substantially this week. Perhaps people just gave up because there have been no pandemic assistance checks since the end of July.

The drop could represent seasonality. For example, teachers are back to work.

Unlike state claims, PUA claims cover part-time workers.

They also cover truly unemployed workers not eligible for state claims. People in this category include the self-employed, various gig workers, and anyone who exhausted state benefits.

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

One either applies for state benefits or Federal PUA, not both. Although there is no double-counting, there is overlap from an unemployment rate point of view. Part-time workers are considered employed.

But some number of those 14.510million workers are genuinely unemployed. I suspect 3 million at a minimum. But they never show up in the unemployment numbers.

Heck, not even continued claims show up in the BLS numbers.

All Continued Claims

All Continued Claims in 2020 Sep 24 Report

All Continued Claims, like Primary PUA claims, are not seasonally adjusted. They also lag initial claims by two weeks and continued claims by a week.

The total for the latest week is 26.04 million. This should realistically feed the U-6 unemployment rate but it does not come close.

Lost Pandemic Benefits

Pandemic benefits expired on July 25. Everyone in any program received $600 weekly benefits.

The average number of All Continued Claims since July 25 is 28.29 million. In a few days the 10th check will go missing.

Lost pandemic benefits = 28.29 million * $600 per week * 10 weeks = $152.77 billion.

That's money that would have been sent but wasn't.

BLS Methodology Change 

For the reporting period ending August 29 (release date September 3) the BLS made a methodology change. 

As a result of the change, the BLS reported 881,000 initial claims (now revised to 884,000). Under the previous methodology, the BLS would have reported 1,010,000 claims. 

The BLS did not back adjust the data and the change is suspect as well. Even if the change is accurate, the seasonal charts all reflect disjointed data.

For further discussion, please see Unemployment Claims Improve But It's a Manipulation Mirage.

Related Posts

  1. Huge Discrepancies Cast Doubt On the Better Than Expected Jobs Report
  2. Jobs Report Much Better Than Expected, But Is It Believable?
  3. Women Lost More Jobs But Have Gained Them Back Faster
  4. The Recovery is Led by Part-Time, Not Full-Time Employment

Either there is massive pandemic claims fraud, massive unemployment undercounting by the BLS, or both.

The above articles, especially #1 and #4 suggest huge undercounting by the BLS, possibly accompanied by massive fraud as well.

I suspect both.

Mish