New claims for unemployment continue slow decline for week ending 11/7/20; continuing claims dropping quickly.

The number of new claims for unemployment for week ending 11/7/20 again declined. This is the fourth weekly decline, with drops in eight of the last fifteen weeks.  New claims are 709K, a 48K drop for the week.

Starting 8/29/20 the new claims have been in the mid- to high 800 thousands. Since 10/17/20 the new claims have been under 800K.

Remember that before the government induced shutdown of the economy the new claims averaged about 220K per week so we are still running more than three times the previous norm.

The number of continuing claims for unemployment is continuing to drop. Large part of the drop is people going back to work. Part of it is people dropping off the state-level unemployment rolls exhausting coverage.

On 11/12/20, the Wall Street Journal reported U.S. Unemployment Claims Slip but Hold at High Levels. Article asserts the declining new claims and drop in ongoing claims indicates the economy is in a good recovery. Consensus of economists spoken to for the article indicate economy is on a better tract recovery now then the expectations were a few months ago. Current expectation is the GDP will drop 2.7% for the year which is better than the 3.6% expected just last month.

Article suggests that recovery is better than expected.

Tally of people who are now in the extended 13 weeks covered at the federal level is rising rapidly. Here is a recap:

  • 1.96M – 9/19/20
  • 2.79M – 10/3/20 – 0.83M increase in two weeks
  • 3.98M – 10/24/20 – 1.20M increase in three weeks
  • 4.14M – 10/31/20 – 0.16M

Federal coverage reached about 2 million in mid-September and rose to about 4 million the end of October.

Following graphs show the devastation from the economic shutdown.

New claims

New claims for unemployment by week since the start of the year:


Top of this post shows a graph looking closer at the new claims since 8/1/20.

Continuing claims

The number of people covered by unemployment insurance who are drawing checks is extremely high, but is continuing to slowly drop. This is labeled as the number of insured unemployed. Don’t know how to break out the cause for the tally dropping. Drop consists of people going back to work, transitioning to the federal program after exhausting 13 weeks of state coverage, and dropping out of the job market. People going into the extended benefits program at the federal level offset a large portion of the drop.

Here is a closer look at the continuing claims at the state level only since 8/1/20:


Insured unemployment rate

The proportion of people who are covered by unemployment insurance who are unemployed is also included in the weekly report. As you can see the insured unemployment rate is continuing to drop.


Data source

Weekly press release from the Department of labor: Unemployment insurance weekly claims. At the end of the report you can find weekly data for this year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *