The economic impact of Hurricane Ida was evident in the most recent initial jobless claims data, which rose to 332,000 for the week ending Sept. 11. There were noticeable increases in first-time claims, as one would expect, in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Louisiana and Alabama, according to government data released on Thursday.
Claims actually declined in Mississippi, which along with the weather-induced volatility in the top-line number, implies that there will be further weather-induced distortions in the data in the next reporting week.
Given that the impact of the storm unfolded over the better part of a week, we think it will be early October before we get a sense of the true underlying trend in claims.
Inside the data, we continue to observe a decline in first-time claims for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which eased to 28,456 for the week ending Sept. 11, down from 94,638 previously. A year ago, claims under that program, which covers part-time workers who do not qualify for state benefits, stood at 675,632. The program recently expired.
The total number of those on some form of unemployment insurance increased to 12.1 million for the week ending Aug. 28, up from 11.9 million previously.
Investors should anticipate a material decline in that number in the coming weeks because of the withdrawal of the federal unemployment insurance that was put in place during the pandemic.
For more information on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting midsize businesses, please visit the RSM Coronavirus Resource Center.