A series of alternative and near real-time data show that the economy began to slow on or around June 24. First-time jobless claims, which increased by 1.416 million for the week ending July 18, affirm the evolution of that data and point to risks around a slower pace of workers being recalled to their pre-pandemic jobs.
Pauses, pullbacks, shutdowns and the exhaustion of a one-time release in pent-up demand are the proximate causes for the increase in first-time jobless claims.
None of this bodes well for an economy facing a series of policy cliffs over the next several weeks that will almost certainly result in a weaker quantity of fiscal aid in the second half of the year for an economy still reeling from the pandemic.
The top-line increase of 1.41 million reported by the Labor Department on Thursday represents the 18th week of first-time claims above 1 million. Over that time, roughly 52.7 million people have experienced some form of unemployment and income losses.
Continuing claims for the week ending July 11 decreased to 16.19 million, down from a revised 17.3 million and producing an implied insured unemployment rate of 11.1%.
When the the federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program is included, there were 2.39 million people who filed for unemployment insurance. Through the week ending July 4, 31.8 million individuals were on on some form of unemployment insurance.
For more information on how the coronavirus is affecting midsize businesses, please visit the RSM Coronavirus Resource Center.