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Slow Improvement in Initial Claims

The US Department of Labor reports seasonally-adjusted initial claims fell to 963,000 for the week ending August 8.

Improvement is steady but slow. The string of 20 straight weeks above the million mark just ended.

Continued Claims in 2020

Continued State Unemployment Claims in 2020 August 13 Report

Continued state unemployment claims showed a bit of progress but progress is slower.

Continued claims have been above the 15 million mark for 17 consecutive weeks. 

The BLS reference week for the next jobs report is the week that contains the 13th of the month. That's the week that determines the official unemployment rate. 

That is this week. But we will not see that data for two more weeks. The "current" continued claims data is as of August 1, at 15,486,000.

Four Continued Claim Factors

  1. Continued claims lag initial claims by a week.
  2. People can find a job and drop off the unemployment rolls.
  3. People can expire their benefits and drop off the rolls.
  4. People can retire and drop off the rolls.

Note: My Initial Claims and Continued Claims charts are Seasonally-Adjusted. The following PUA and Totals are NOT Seasonally-Adjusted.

Primary PUA Claims

Primary PUA Claims in 2020 August 13 Report

Primary PUA covers those who are not eligible to make state claims. People working part-time can also claim PUA

The report lags initial claims by 2 weeks and continued claims by 1 week.

Primary PUA claims dropped by over two million for the week ending July 25. 

PUA benefits ended July 25 due to Congressional bickering. Did that impact the counts? 

There may also be seasonal factors. PUA claims are not seasonally adjusted.

All Continued Claims

All Continued Claims in 2020 August 13
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No Double Counting Just Misleading

All Continued Claims is sum of all the various programs.

There is no double-counting as widely reported. 

One either applies at the state level or the Federal Level, not both. And one must first apply at the state level. 

There are currently 28,257,995 people collecting "assistance". Confusion stems from the fact that not all of those people are unemployed

PUA allows part-time workers to apply. They will not show up in the monthly jobs report as unemployed

There are also some collecting PUA who are genuinely unemployed who simply do not qualify for any state programs. 

Number of Unemployed

The number of unemployed is somewhere between 15,486,000 (continued claims) and 28,257,995 (all claims).

My guess is around 20,000,000 but the BLS will report far less due to extremely strict countingh guidelines plus admitted errors. 

Expired Benefits

It's important to note that those on PUA only who are not working part-time have no money coming in. 

This is where it gets confusing.

Individuals must first apply at the state level. If not covered then they can apply for PUA. Persons who qualify at the state level get state benefits plus PUA. This is part of the double-counting confusion.

Those on PUA but not a state program have no money coming in unless they are working on the side.

Due to Congressional bickering the last PUA check is for the week ending July 25. Today is August 13. In two days, another check for $600 would be owed.

That will be the third missed check for everyone on PUA.

Trump authorized another $400 but with states having to supply $100, so really only $300. States have no way to implement that as outlined in the executive order. And most if not all do not have the $100 to contribute.

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Point number 4 is particularly ominous.