Initial Jobless Claims Continue to Fall, But Remain at Elevated Levels

08.13.2020 - Jon Heckscher

  • The trend of “less bad” continued as initial claims fell to below one million for the week ending August 7.
    • The decline was broad-based, with the majority of states reporting a drop in initial claims from the prior week. While initial claims remain extremely high (963, 000), the downward trend is encouraging for the labor market’s recovery.  This week marks the first time since March 13 that claims are below the one million level.  As a point of comparison, 665,000 was the worst weekly total experienced during the Great Financial Crisis.
    • Last Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employers have added 9.3 million jobs between May and July, recouping 42% of the 22 million jobs lost between February and April.
  • The recent better-than-expected economic results have led the stock market to record highs.  The positive data may potentially alleviate pressure on Republican and Democratic negotiators in reaching a deal on a new coronavirus-relief package.
  • Equity markets have reacted positively while bond yields have continued to inch higher this week also due to higher-than-expected inflation readings.


Chart: A positive sign in US labor markets

Weekly jobless claims for the period ending 8/7/2020

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, data as of 8/7/2020


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