898,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, more than the 825,000 economists expected.
It marked the first rise in three weeks and came on a day when Americans woke up to headlines explaining that a new round of virus relief likely isn’t coming before the election.
The latest jobless claims figures underscore the notion that the US labor market is far from healed. If this is the “new normal,” so to speak, we’re in trouble.
The previous week’s total was revised slightly higher. The four-week moving average rose to 866,250. Distortions from California’s “pause” remain, apparently.
Continuing claims for the week of October 3 were 10,018,00. That’s down considerably and better than estimates, but the previous week was revised higher and, as Bloomberg notes, it “may partially reflect people exhausting state aid and moving to Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.” PEUC jumped 818,054 to 2.78 million in the week ended September 26.
Meanwhile, Empire manufacturing missed, coming in at 10.5 for October. The market was looking for 14 there. The low-end of the range was 10, so that’s not a great print.
The color accompanying the October survey paints a mixed picture. Essentially, firms are optimistic and things are much improved, but conditions aren’t as favorable as they were a month ago.
On the bright side, the Philly Fed beat, printing 32.3, much better than the 14.8 the market expected, and up nicely from September. “The survey’s current indicators for general activity, new orders, and shipments all showed notable improvement,” some chipper color accompanying the release reads.
Obviously, nobody is going to care about those offsetting surveys on a day when fiscal stimulus talks are on fire and jobless claims came in worse than expected.
I’d say the disconcerting unemployment data would lend a sense of urgency to the virus relief talks, but then I’d be lying.