Jobless Claims Reach 30 Million Over the Past Six Weeks

The U.S. Department of Labor released the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report for the week ending April 25th. As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance hit 3.8 million, bringing the total jobless claims to 30.3 million over the past six weeks.

In the week ending April 25th, the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits, known as jobless claims, was at a seasonally adjusted level of 3,839,000, a decrease of 603,000 from the previous week’s revised level (4,442,000 claims). The four-week moving average decreased to 5,033,250, from a revised average of 5,790,250 in the previous week. After it hit a record of 6.9 million for the week ending March 28th, jobless claims declined slightly by 0.3 million, 1.4 million, 0.8 million and 0.6 million in the following four weeks.

All the U.S. job gains in the past decade were wiped out in only six weeks. The COVID-19 pandemic added 30.3 million jobless claims over the past six weeks while it took a decade for the U.S. economy to create 22.4 million jobs since November 2009.

The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate increased by 1.5 percentage points to 12.4% for the week ending April 18th. The number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment increased to 17,992,000 during the week ending April 18th, from a downward revised level of 15,818,000 in the previous week. It marks so far the highest level of seasonally adjusted insured unemployment in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.

The U.S. Department of Labor also released the monthly report providing information about the characteristics of Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants by industry, on a not seasonally adjusted basis. The chart below presents the annual changes of insured unemployment for construction and real estate (rental and leasing) industries from January 2005 to March 2020. According to the March NSA figures, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on construction and real estate industries is not obvious, maybe because the construction is categorized as essential work and are continuing in many states.

NABH Eye on Housing article written by Jing Fu on April 30, 2020