Coronavirus Crushes Strongest Labor Market in History
The U.S. Labor Department (DOL) reported initial jobless claims rose far more than expected to 3,283,000 for the week ending March 21, attributable to the coronavirus (COVID-19). That’s an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised 282,000.
This is the highest level for initial jobless claims ever on record. Forecasts ranged from a low of 750,000 to a high of 2,737,000. The consensus forecast was 1,000,000.
The 4-week moving average was 998,250, an increase of 765,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 232,250 to 232,500.
Lagging Jobless Claims Data
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was unchanged at a very low 1.2% for the week ending March 14, though that’s certain to change.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 14 was 1,803,000, rising 101,000 from the previous week’s revised level.
This is the highest level for insured unemployment since April 14, 2018 when it was 1,824,000. The previous week’s level was revised up 1,000 from 1,701,000 to 1,702,000.
The 4-week moving average was 1,731,000, an increase of 27,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 1,703,250 to 1,703,500.
No state was triggered “on” the Extended Benefits program during the week ending March 7.
The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending March 7 were in Alaska (2.8), New Jersey (2.6), Connecticut (2.4), Rhode Island (2.3), West Virginia (2.3), Illinois (2.2), Minnesota (2.2), Montana (2.2), Pennsylvania (2.2), and Puerto Rico (2.2).
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending March 14 were in California (+14,221), Washington (+7,624), Nevada (+4,047), Pennsylvania (+3,212), and Massachusetts (+2,737), while the largest decreases were in Arkansas (-461), Alabama (-341), Puerto Rico (-171), West Virginia (-168), and Maine (-81).