Jobless claims are slightly down for the week ending Saturday (Dec. 19), with 803,000 initial claims, a decrease of 89,000 from the previous week’s revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reported on Wednesday (Dec. 23). Forecasts anticipated 880,000 new claims for unemployment benefits.
The previous week’s total was revised up by 7,000 to reach 892,000. For the week ending Dec. 5, the total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits was 20.4 million, a decrease of 283,170 from the previous week. Compared to last year at this time, weekly claims were 1.8 million.
“The recent surge in COVID cases has led to many states reimplementing lockdown measures and other business restrictions that will likely crimp the labor market recovery in the short run,” Deutsche Bank economists led by Matthew Luzzetti said in a note Monday, per Yahoo Finance. “We have already begun to see some evidence of this in the high-frequency data, with changes in a state’s jobless claims becoming increasingly correlated with the state’s growth in COVID cases.”
Initial jobless claims for the week that ended Saturday (Dec. 12) soared to a three-month high, up 23,000 as new coronavirus cases escalated amid the first winter storm wallop. The high was 885,000 versus 853,000 expected, about four times greater than new claims before the pandemic.
Initial claims reported by the DOL on Aug. 6 marked the first time news filings went down since the pandemic took hold in the U.S. in March. Some 1.2 million filed for new unemployment benefits, a decrease of 249,000.