“Just” 787,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, considerably better than the 870,000 economists expected. California resumed reporting after a pause.
Although still above the pre-pandemic record set in 1982, the latest print on initial claims is the best of the pandemic era, with the usual caveat that “best” is an extremely relative term.
This is the first sub-800,000 print since claims surged to unthinkable levels in March.
The previous week’s figure was revised lower to 842,000 from 898,000 and the four-week moving average fell to 811,250.
Given the advanced stage of stimulus talks between Democrats and The White House, the latest claims figures aren’t likely to be a factor one way or another. But you can be sure Senate Republicans reluctant to countenance additional spending will take note of headlines touting the lowest jobless claims of the COVID era.
Continuing claims fell to 8,373,000, much better than the 9.6 million the market expected, but you should probably take that with a grain of salt. Note that the line item for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation jumped 509,823 in the week through October 3. That, after an 818,054 jump the previous week.
This week’s release is even more difficult to parse than usual, considering California’s return to reporting and the large revisions to previous weeks.
Again, this isn’t likely to matter for stimulus talks, but in the event the trend continues to improve, it could eventually undermine Senate support for additional outlays.
Unless of course the Senate flips, in which case, well… you know.