While still massive, the claims are technically an improvement over estimates.
For better or worse, US workers are trying to return to some semblance of their normal working lives. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic still has many public occupations technically unsafe, and whether due to closures decided by management or a reluctance to enter dangerous spaces, many workers are still applying for unemployment.
Current statistics show weekly unemployment filings at 1.314 million. However, though this is still a large, worrying number, it is technically an improvement, at least compared to what was expected. Dow Jones experts were estimating the claims would total around 1.39 million, meaning we have just barely improved over expectations. The filings have also gone down from the previous week’s number of 99,000, according to the US Department of Labor. The four-week average has smoothed considerably to approximately 1.43 million claims. Continuing claims are also on a slight decline, dropping by 698,000 from last week’s 18.06 million, which itself was down by 530,000 from the week before. This is another example of beating expectations, as the continuing claims were projected at around 18.9 million.
Sadly, this is merely a minor bright spot on an overall problem. Unemployment claims have numbered over 1 million for the past 15 weeks, over three months. Claims specifically for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) have also gone up by 42,000 to 1.039 million.
“We still have a long road ahead of us,” Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, told CNBC. “These are definitely good numbers, but this is going to be a long and bumpy road.”
Analysts are expecting some manner of shake-up when the financial assistance provided by the CARES Act expires at the end of July, barring a decision for renewal. It is not known exactly what will happen when those receiving the extra $600 on top of their unemployment lose that extra benefit.