The pace of firings in the U.S. economy remains well above anything observed during the Great Financial Crisis as 860,000 workers filed for first-time jobless claims for the week ending Sept. 12, a reflection of the deep scarring in the domestic labor market and economy.
An additional 658,737 filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, bringing the total filing for public assistance to 1,518,737 for the week, according to Labor Department data released on Thursday.
The report comes as the number of people seeking unemployment insurance continues to mount. Since mid-March, there have been 61 million filings for first-time jobless claims. For the week ending Sept. 5, there were 12.6 million people filing for continuing claims, which implies an 8.6% unemployment rate. And through the week ending Aug. 29, there were nearly 29.8 million people on some form of unemployment insurance.
While the number of people filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance declined by 209,577 as states continued to work through backlogs, the stratospheric number of individuals exhausting their 26 weeks of unemployment and moving on to the PUA rolls demands attention.
Data tends to reflect economic conditions with a lag. Firms that face insufficient demand are most likely beginning to let employees go, and we expect that to accelerate once protections for workers at firms that took Paycheck Protection Program loans expire on Sept. 30.