Jobless Claims: Stubbornly High

June 4, 2020
Bottom Line: Claims declined slightly less than expected as California and Florida saw further increases in claims last week. Anecdotal evidence has suggested that there has been a backlog of claims for several weeks, potentially what we are seeing in California and Florida. New York and Michigan, meanwhile, saw sharp declines. Overall, at 1.6 million on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, this was in line with predictions based on nowcasting with Google search data. Claims are now trending lower, albeit from a record high level. The 4-week average is at 2.28million, below the 13-week average that is now 3.3 million. Our model suggests the current week through Wednesday was running at a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 1.52 million, only slowly moving lower. Jobless Claims FELL by 249k during the week ended May 30th to 1877k, compared with market expectations for an increase to 1833k. The 4-week average FELL by 324.8k to 2284k and the 13-week average ROSE by 127.7k to 3318k. Continuing Claims ROSE by 649k during the week ended May 23th to 21,487k, after the prior week was revised moderately higher from 11,976k to 20,838k. The 4-week average FELL by 223k to 22,446k. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Continuing Claims FELL by 3742k to 19,052k during the week ended May 16th. The Insured Jobless Rate FELL by 2.6% to 14.5% during the week ended May 23th. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance.