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HEDGEYE FINANCIALS WEEKLY LABOR MARKET READING
This week's data included a change in methodology:
While this week's data represents the first week reflecting the methodological adjustment, with prior weeks not being revised, new and old seasonally adjusted data will not be comparable.
Nonetheless, this week's unadjusted data for both initial and continuing claims affirms the broader labor market narrative as unemployment remains historically high and the pace of recovery slows.
Initial unemployment insurance claims (SA), filed in the week ending August 28th, were 881K. Cumulative initial claims have now hit 59.3 million, although this includes a fair amount of duplicate filings and over-counting on both the state and PUA levels.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims filed in the week ending August 28th were 759K, up +25% w/w.
Recall, PUAs are part of the CARES Act and cover workers ineligible for traditional state UI assistance, including independent contractors, self-employed individuals, and others as detailed in the CARES Act.
Given the unprecedented speed with which initial claims have manifested, our view remains that the best way to contextualize the magnitude of the labor market crisis is to look at continued claims.
Continued unemployment insurance claims (SA), the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending August 28th, 2020, were 13.2 million. Continued claims of 13.2 million are currently ~2.0x the previous high-water mark of ~6.6 million set during the financial crisis.