New claims for unemployment are flat and ongoing claims are slowly decreasing as of middle of June 2021.

New claims for unemployment are flat compared to three weeks ago. Ongoing claims for unemployment at the state and federal level are declining, slow though the decline may be.

Number of weekly new claims for unemployment was 406,000 three weeks ago and 412,000 the most recent week. The increase in the most recent week offset the decline in the previous two weeks.

Most recent data shows ongoing claims at the state level dropped from 3,602,000 three weeks ago to 3,518,000 in the most recent week, for a net decrease of 84,000. There was an increase two weeks ago, large drop last week, and essentially no change this week.

The number of new claims is still double the average from before the pandemic.

Purpose of these posts on economic statistics is to help all of us keep current on what is going on in the overall economy.

Revised number of weekly new claims in state programs over the last four months to show the trend:

  • 728K – 3/27/221
  • 590K – 4/24/21
  • 406K – 5/22/21
  • 412K – 6/12/21

Following graphs show the devastation from the economic shutdown.

New claims

New claims for unemployment by week since the start of 2020:

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Accelerating inflation rate continues in May 2021.

Changes in the Consumer Price Index have been making a splash in the news lately. Increases over the last three months have been unusually high.

The headline consumer price indicator increased 0.6% in May after 0.8% in April and 0.6% in March. That is a big run of inflation for three months.

The core measure, which excludes energy and food costs, has been on a roughly parallel track with 0.7 increase in May following a 0.9% in April and 0.3% in March.

Graph at the top of this page shows the change in the primary inflation indicator, and the core index along with a 12 month average of the monthly change.

You can see a large drop in prices during the pandemic followed by spikes over the next several months. Price changes returned to normal range in the September 2020 through February 2021 timeframe.

What is behind those numbers? Let’s check out the Wall Street Journal’s narrative:

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Monitoring inflation through the Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) price index.

Another way to keep track of inflation trends is by watching the price index for the Personal Consumption Expenditure.

Please journey along with me as I continue my education.

In the news yesterday was the April increase which showed a 3.1% year-over-year increase compared to an expectation of a 2.9% increase. For one article discussing the news, check out the following:

I have started to track this data, gathering information back to the start of 2020. The month by month change in the headline index and the core index (which excludes food and energy costs) can be seen in the graph at the top of this post.

Before look at the year-over-year change, we need to look at the nature of the index. There are two main indices used to monitor inflation. The first is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which everyone knows about. The other is the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE).

What’s the difference? Great question.

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New claims for unemployment decreasing at end of May 2021. Ongoing claims are flat.

Since my last post on 4/30/20, a month ago, there has finally been visible progress in the number of people losing their job.

Since 4/24/21 the number of new claims for unemployment has dropped from 590,000 to 406,000 in the week ending 5/22/21. Graph above shows improvement. Average had been running around 800,000 from early October 2020 until late in February 2021.

The number of new claims is still double the average from before the pandemic. As recently as February it was four times, so that is progress. From quadruple for oh so many months to merely double is good. Not great for all those people losing their job now, but at overall level it is progress.

Purpose of these posts on economic statistics is to help all of us sort out what is going on in the overall economy.

Revised number of new claims in state programs over the last four months:

  • 754K – 2/27/21
  • 728K – 3/27/221
  • 590K – 4/24/21
  • 406K – 5/22/21

Following graphs show the ongoing human cost of the economic shutdown.

New claims

New claims for unemployment by week since the start of 2020:

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Unemployment rate up slightly in April 2021 after slow decline since November 2020.

The unemployment rate skyrocketed during the pandemic heating a frightening 14.7% in April 2020, a year ago. It declined substantially, hitting 6.9% in October 2020.

Since November, he sent to the corresponding to the election, the employment rate has been slowly declining, drifting down to 6.0% in March 2021.

In April 2021, then upon rate inched up to 6.1%. This is the first monthly increase since the peak in April 2020.

To help understand the data and underlying trends, let’s dive deeper into the numbers.

The U-3 and U-6 unemployment rates since the start of 2019 are visible in the graph at the top of this post.

General trend visible in that graph is unemployment rate has been flat at around 6% since the fall after having been at below 4% for over a year before the pandemic.

For a longer-term perspective, check out the U-3 and U-6 unemployment rates since before the Great Recession:

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Continued struggles in recovery of job market.

Lots of companies are looking for new staff but can’t find enough workers. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Spending by consumers is growing while the number of new jobs is not as strong as expected and employers are having a hard time finding enough staff.

5/7/21 – Wall Street Journal – U.S. Employers Added 266,000 Jobs in April as Hiring Slowed – Expectation among economic forecasters was employers would add 1 million new jobs in April. Actual results were a mere 266,000.

This follows a downward revision to the March data.

Leisure and hospitality (that means entertainment, hotels, and motels) saw most of the growth in April. In more detail, there are 331K new jobs in those sectors which offset a net decline of 65K in all other sectors.

Article repeats the comment seen in many of other articles that employers are having a hard time attracting new staff.

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New claims for unemployment slowly decreasing at end of April 2021.

The number of new unemployment claims for week ending 4/24/21 decreased by a small 13,000 to 553,000.  That is the lowest level of newly unemployed since the start of the shutdown.

New claims dropped a lot in the week ending 4/10/21, going from 769K the prior week to 576K, a drop of 193K.

New claims in state programs at the end of the last three months:

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Lockdown for the last year was a mistake.

The year-long lockdown has been okay if you are a member of the “Zoom class.”

As we finish our first year of shutting down education for our kids and shutting down the economy for everyone evidence is emerging of what a terrible mistake we made.

A series of posts will commemorate this regrettable anniversary.

Today’s articles:

  • Worst public health mistake in a century
  • Lockdowns okay for those of us fortunate enough to be a part of the “Zoom class”
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New claims for unemployment in week ending 3/13/21 are roughly same as last several months.

The number of new claims for unemployment for week ending 3/13/21 increased 45,000 after decling 29,000 the prior week. Those weekly changes are in the range of what has happened over the last six months. In other words, not a lot of improvement with plenty of ups and downs in the weekly new-claims tally.

Since 8/29/20, the new weekly claims ranged from a low of 711K to high of 965K. average since then is 812K. That means weekly new claims have been bad news for seven months in a row.

For context consider before the economic shutdown the new claims averaged about 220K per week, so after all these months of improvements we are still running about four times the previous norm.

Why this ongoing discussion?

If we’re going to understand what is happening in the economy we need to dive deeper into the numbers. For those of us who are CPAs providing audits and reviews, it helps us to have a deeper understanding of the overall economy.

Ponder the following graphs and you can make your own assessment.

News report

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Ongoing damage from the economic shutdown.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Only have one post since the start of the year on the damage caused by the government imposed shutdown of education, the economy, travel, and health systems. That’s not because the damage is easing up. It’s just because I’ve not taken the time to write about the articles I see every day.

The damage continues. Merely a few of the articles of recent interest:

  • Widespread mental health damage is falling disproportionately on younger people.
  • Lost schooling may have lifetime impact on individuals and the entire economy.
  • Restaurants are particularly hard hit by the repeated close, open, close, open cycles.
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Ongoing hypocrisy from our ruling overlords. Oh, guess who finally wants to reopen the economy?

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Feel free to laugh. Or cry if you wish. Two more politicians demonstrate they are exempt from the rules they require us lowly, common peasants to follow.

Also, two politicians realize it, um, maybe, possibly, is time to get the economy started. Oh yeah, that is in spite of infection rate spike in New York State.

Today’s source of entertainment which would be funny if the human impact from the lockdowns had not been so devastating for the last 10 months:

  • County manager in North Carolina announces she intends to ignore travel restrictions
  • It is perfectly okay for Mayor DeBlasio to have a private dance in Times Square on New Year’s Eve even as everyone else is required to stay home
  • Chicago mayor wants to reopen bars and restaurants even though the relevant statistics show it the city is a long from otherwise being able to reopen
  • New York Gov. realizes there may not be much left of the economy if we don’t open up quickly.

12/23/20 – Red State – NC Official Says She Will Travel For Christmas After Telling Residents To Stay Home. Her Justification Is Priceless – Behold the power of rationalization.

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Large rise new claims for unemployment for week ending 1/9/21.

The number of new claims for unemployment for week ending 1/9/21 increased to 965,000, a deterioration of 181,000 from the prior week.  That is the highest number of new state claims since 8/22/20.

Since 8/29/20, the new weekly claims have been in the 700Ks or 800Ks.

Keep in mind that before the shutdown of the economy the new claims averaged about 220K per week, so we are now running more than four times the previous norm.

The number of continuing claims for unemployment has been slowly dropping but increased for the week ending 1/2/21.

News report

Article at Wall Street Journal on 1/14/21 reports US Unemployment Claims Rise as Pandemic Weighs on Economy. Article link indicates the consensus is the increasing virus count combined with increasing restrictions on businesses caused the jump in new unemployment claims.

Article says there are other economic indicators suggesting the economy is slowing down again. Stats such as small business optimism, new home sales, existing home sales, household income, and household spending point towards a slowdown.

Following graphs show the devastation from the economic shutdown.

New claims

New claims for unemployment by week since the start of 2020:

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One more post on the utter devastation from shutdown of the economy.

When done to a 60 year old building that destruction is understandable. When done to an economy, not so much. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The government ordered shutdown of the economy in 2020 has devastated primary education, secondary education, higher education, travel industry, entertainment industry, small businesses, restaurants, physical health, mental health, and detective/ preventive treatment of chronic and deadly disease. Level of unemployment is second only to the Great Depression. We have seen evaporation of wealth, savings, trust in government officials at all levels, and trust in every public health official in the country.

I have over 100 posts protesting the foolishness and destruction this year with those posts containing close to 90,000 words describing the devastation.

This will be the last routine post describing the intentional disruption we have suffered this year. I will have one more post describing actual science that is surfacing, which is in sharp contrast to the alleged “science” that has driven the demolition of the country.

Discussion in this post:

  • Devastation in travel industry
  • Drastic increase in U.S. poverty rate
  • Collapse of incoming freshman class at U.S. colleges

Indicators of the devastation in the travel industry

11/4/20 – Wall Street Journal – How Coronavirus Ravaged Travel in 2020 – The Middle Seat column tabulated a number of indicators showing the illness across entire travel industry.

What does the collapse of an entire industry look like? A few stats:

Traffic at three largest New York airports:

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Small decline in new claims and continuing claims for unemployment for week ending 12/26/20.

The number of new claims for unemployment for week ending 12/26/20 declined for a secone weeks in a row. New claims are 787K, a 19K drop for the week.

This two week drop follows two weeks of increases, which totaled 176K.

Since 8/9/20, the new weekly claims have been in the 700Ks or 800Ks.

For contrast, remember that before the government induced shutdown of the economy the new claims averaged about 220K per week so we are still running three or four 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. Some portion, likely a lot, of the drop in state-level continuing claims has been offset by rising number of people on the federal program.

When a person exhausts the state level coverage, they become eligible for the extended federal benefits, called the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

Article at Wall Street Journal on 12/31/20 reports US Unemployment Claims Fell Modestly Last Week.  Article explains the new claims for state programs is a proxy for layoffs. Good observation.

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New claims and continuing claims for unemployment increased for week ending 12/5/20.

The number of new claims for unemployment for week ending 12/5/20 increased from 716K in prior week to 853K.

Number of new claims has been in the 700Ks or 800Ks since the end of August.

The number of continuing claims for unemployment increased for the week ending 11/28/20, going from 5.53M up to 5.76M.

Just a few graphs this week:

New claims

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

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