Unemployment Claims Hit New Record: 32.9 Million State & Federal. Week 16 of U.S. Labor Market Collapse

Unemployment Claims Hit New Record: 32.9 Million State & Federal. Week 16 of U.S. Labor Market Collapse

Claims by gig workers under federal PUA program soar, now 44% of total unemployment claims. Where’s the “V-Shaped” recovery of the labor market?

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The data chaos persists, and the unemployment numbers keep getting worse. The torrent of newly unemployed keeps flowing week after week. But a lot of people are also going back to work. The total number of people who continued to claim unemployment compensation in the week ended July 4 under all state and federal unemployment insurance programs, including gig workers, jumped by 1.41 million people, to 32.92 million (not seasonally adjusted), the Department of Labor reported this morning. It was the highest and most gut-wrenching level ever.

The number of people who continue to receive state unemployment insurance (blue columns) has been ticking down, as more people got their jobs back than newly unemployed flooded the state unemployment systems. But the number of people claiming federal unemployment insurance, including gig workers under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, continues to surge (red columns), which causes the total number of people claiming unemployment benefits under all programs to rise:

Unemployment insurance under state programs.

The number of people who were newly laid off and filed their initial unemployment claims with state unemployment offices in the week ended July 4 ticked down to 1.4 million (not seasonally adjusted). This is still a huge number of people filing new unemployment claims – and nearly twice the peak of the unemployment crisis in 2009 – but it’s the lowest number since this crisis erupted.

Those declines in initial claims have been painfully slow over the past four weeks. Over those four weeks combined, 5.75 million newly-laid-off people filed initial unemployment claims. The chart represents the weekly inflow of newly unemployed under state programs into the masses of the unemployed:

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Wolf Richter

In his cynical, tongue-in-cheek manner, he muses on WOLF STREET about economic, business, and financial issues, Wall Street shenanigans, complex entanglements, and other things, debacles, and opportunities that catch his eye in the US, Europe, Japan, and occasionally China. WOLF STREET is the successor to his first platform… TP-Title-7-small-200px …whose ghastly name he finally abandoned in July 2014. Here’s the story on that. Wolf lives in San Francisco. He has over twenty years of C-level operations experience, including turnarounds and a VC-funded startup. He earned his BA and MBA in Texas and his MA in Oklahoma, worked in both states for years, including a decade as General Manager and COO of a large Ford dealership and its subsidiaries. But one day, he quit and went to France for seven weeks to open himself up to new possibilities, which degenerated into a life-altering three-year journey across 100 countries on all continents, much of it overland. And it almost swallowed him up.