Number of people drawing unemployment continues to improve, but very slowly, as of the start of November 2021.

The number of new claims for unemployment is slowly declining.

For the week ending 11/6/21 there were 267,000 new claims. While this is encouraging progress, keep in mind the number of people who are getting laid off is still far above the average of 212,000 per week all the way back in January and February 2020. We are still seeing more people laid off every week than before the pandemic began.

Here is a recap of newly unemployed over the last several months:

  • 371K – 6/26/21
  • 387K – 7/31/21
  • 345K – 8/28/21
  • 364K – 9/25/21
  • 271K – 10/30/21 – noticeable improvement
  • 267K – 11/6/21

Graph at the top of this post shows the number of new claims for unemployment each week since the start of October 2020.

Continuing claims

The number of people covered by unemployment insurance at the state level who are drawing checks dropped substantially in the fall of 2020.

In 2021 the number has been declining but at a slower rate. Much of the drop in the number of unemployed covered in state programs has been offset by increase in number of people drawing extended benefits at the federal level.

When people exhausted their state level unemployment coverage, they became eligible for the extended federal benefits, called the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

For a long time the count of people who left the state-level programs was offset by increases in the people covered by the extended 13 weeks in the federal program.

The federal program ended at the end of August, I think. The number of people in the program dropped dramatically in the week ended 9/11/21.

Here is a week-by-week tally of people drawing unemployment in the state and extended-federal unemployment programs. Notice the visible drop in the federal program.

To simplify the numbers I have another graph that shows the federal and state unemployment coverage in three-week increments. For your consideration:

Notice the drop in state coverage was offset by increases in the federal coverage from October 2020 until about April 2021. Since then there has been a gradual decline, until the extended-federal program expired.

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