Slight decline in new claims and continuing claims for unemployment for week ending 11/28/20.

The number of new claims for unemployment for week ending 11/28/20 declined for two weeks in a row. New claims are 712K, a 75K drop for the week.

In September the new claims were in the 800Ks. Since 10/17/20 the new claims have been under 800K.

For contrast, remember that before the government induced shutdown of the economy the new claims averaged about 220K per week so we are still running more than three times the previous norm.

When a person exhausts the state level coverage, they become eligible for the extended federal benefits, called the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

The number of continuing claims for unemployment is continuing to drop. Some portion of the drop is people going back to work. Looks like for the lasts four weeks the drop in state-level continuing claims has been offset by rising number of people in the federal program.

On 12/3/20, CNBC reported Jobless claims hit pandemic-era low as hiring continues even with rising Covid cases. Article says expectation for the new claims for the week was 780,000.

Article also says the Government accountability office recommended a disclaimer in the weekly report pointing out the numbers are not as reliable as usual. Reasons for this are a continuing backlog and processing unemployment claims, which artificially reduces the number of reported claims. Going in the other direction, GAO reports there is an identifiable fraud in the system, which artificially increases the number of reported claims.

Article says expectation is the claims will search again next week after catching up with the putting likes and statistical confusion caused by Thanksgiving week.

Following graphs show the devastation from the economic shutdown.


New claims

New claims for unemployment by week since the start of the year:

Top of this post shows a graph looking closer at the new claims since 8/1/20.


Continuing claims

The number of people covered by unemployment insurance who are drawing checks is extremely high, but is continuing to slowly drop. This is labeled as the number of insured unemployed. People going into the extended benefits program at the federal level offset a large portion of the drop.

Continuing claims for the year:


Here is a closer look at the continuing claims at the state level only since 8/1/20:


Continuing claims in state and federal programs

Tally of people who are now in the extended 13 weeks covered at the federal level is rising rapidly. Here is a recap

  • 1.96M – 9/19/20
  • 2.79M – 10/3/20 – 0.83M increase in two weeks
  • 4.14M  – 10/24/20 – 1.36M increase in three weeks
  • 4.57M – 11/14/20 – 0.43M increase in three weeks

Graph of state coverage and extended federal coverage:



Insured unemployment rate

The proportion of people who are covered by unemployment insurance who are unemployed is also included in the weekly report. As you can see the insured unemployment rate is continuing to drop.


Data source

Weekly press release from the Department of labor: Unemployment insurance weekly claims. At the end of the report you can find weekly data for this year.

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