Category Archives: US unemployment

18/6/20: America’s Scariest Charts Updated

Weekly data for initial unemployment claims for the week ending June 13, 2020 is out, so here are the updated 'America's Scariest Charts':

Index of employment, benchmarked to the pre-recession peak employment:

Estimated total non-farm payrolls:

And initial unemployment claims, half-year running sum:

Today's initial unemployment claims came in at 1,561,267 for the week ending June 6, 2020 (final estimate), slightly up on previous preliminary estimate. For the week ending June 13, 2020, non-seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims came in at a preliminary estimate of 1,433,027.

A summary table to put these numbers into historical comparative:

Some recent context on the latest official employment numbers from earlier this month is provided here:

11/6/20: America’s Scariest Charts Updated

The latest data on initial unemployment claims for the week ending June 6, 2020 is out today (release here: Initial unemployment claims are up another 1,537,120 in one week, though the rate of new additions is down slightly on the revised 1,620,010 new claims in the week ending May 30, 2020.

Here is the summary of the claims and jobs losses during the current recession as compared to all previous post-WW2 recessions:

Cumulative estimated jobs losses so far in this recession amount to 21,088,120, though this number is likely to change as we get more updates on actual employment figures. Cumulative number of new unemployment claims filed in this recession stands at 40,358,315. This number includes those who were denied benefits in prior filings, but subsequently re-filed their claims. Nonetheless, the number is an important indicator of just how woefully horrific the COVID19 pandemic has been on U.S. labour force.

Updating data for June for Non-Farm Payrolls, and incorporating official number for May 2020, reported last week:

Estimated payroll numbers are now down to the levels las seen in 3Q 2000, effectively implying that COVID19 has ashed more jobs than were created in almost the entire 21 years of this century.

Here is another way to visualize the above data:

Here is what this week's initial claims print means for the index of jobs market performance during the current recession, compared to the already widely-debunked optimistic jobs report of last week for May:

In effect, this week largely destroyed most of the 2.509 million jobs created myth paraded by President Trump last week. In reality, of course, we know that that jobs creation print was to a large extent the outrun of re-registrations and benefits expirations, plus the figment of the BLS data collection methods. For the best explanation of these factors, read: and my take on this is:

5/6/20: "Incredible" Jobs Report Meets Reality

Some updates on the jobs report this morning for the U.S.

Political reaction:

Reality bites:

New initial unemployment claims last week: 1,603,000. Putting this into perspective:

Which brings latest non-farm payrolls figures back to 1Q 2000 levels:

So, yeah, right, "tremendous" or put differently, we have 20 years worth of jobs destroyed. Non-farm payrolls increase of 2,509,000 is a good thing at the tail end of May, but the average weekly new unemployment claims increases from March 14 through May 30 currently stand at 3,527,650. This means the "tremendous" gains are just 71% of the weekly average losses.

Beware of morons brigades pushing the successories posters.

28/5/20: America’s Scariest Charts Updated

It is Thursday, so time to update U.S. initial unemployment claims counts and labor markets charts for the data through the end of last week:

A summary table first:

Per latest, initial unemployment claims increased in the week through May 23rd by 1,914,958, marking a major slowdown on the previous weeks' increase, but still running new unemployment claims additions at a rate in excess of 1 million per week, for the 10th consecutive week.

This means that from the start of March 2020 through the week ending May 23rd, total number of initial unemployment claims filed in the U.S. stands at 37,198,539. For comparison, cumulative jobs losses in all recessions since 1945 and through the recession of 2009-2010 amount to 31,664,000.

Adjusting for timings of new unemployment claims and for the most current data on actual non-farm employment, the chart below provides an estimate for current non-farm employment in the U.S.:

Current estimated non-farm employment is at 121,021,000, down from 152,442,000 in February 2020. Current employment, therefore is estimated at around the levels last seen in October 1997.

The chart below plots the history of the initial unemployment claims, using 26 weeks (half-year) cumulative:

In the entire history of the data series for initial unemployment claims, prior to COVID19, there is only one week in which total claims exceeded 1 million mark, the second week of January 1982, when the new claims hit 1,073,500. During the Great Recession, the worst week for initial unemployment claims saw claims rising 956,791. Over the last 10 weeks, the average weekly initial claims filings stood at 3,719,854, which is roughly equivalent to five worst weeks of the Great Recession combined (weeks of 27/12/2008 - 24/01/2009).

Here is a chart showing U.S. employment index across past recessions and post-recession recoveries:

21/5/20: Weekly Unemployment Claims: Updated

In the previous post, I have updated one of the charts relating to the U.S. labor market, namely the chart on employment The data used is a mixture of monthly employment numbers and within-month weekly unemployment claims.

For consistency, here is the chart plotting weekly unemployment claims based on half-year cumulative numbers: