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New Jobless Claims Fall Week-Over-Week: From 'Natural Disaster Phase To Recession Phase'

Continuing jobless claims for the week of May 3 reached 22.83 million compared to a 25.1-million forecast and the previous week’s revised figure of 22.38 million. 

Benzinga · 05/14/2020 13:02

Continuing jobless claims for the week of May 3 reached 22.83 million compared to a 25.1-million forecast and the previous week’s revised figure of 22.38 million. 

Initial jobless claims fell from a revised number of 3.17 million in the last week of April to 2.98 million in the week of May 3. Economists had projected a figure of 2.5 million. Several state economies have been partially reopened as the country continues to battle a coronavirus pandemic

The metrics together brought the four-week average for jobless claims down from 4.18 million to 3.62 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“We are on the back end of the first wave of layoffs, but now we are transitioning from the natural-disaster phase to the recession phase,” Josh Wright, chief economist at Wrightside Advisors, told Reuters.

“That’s why so many white collar jobs are still being lost. We effectively amputated a large section of the economy, and we are going to limp along afterwards.”

What's Next For The Economy? 

Experts are at odds on the trajectory of jobless claims.

“We would expect a peak should arrive sometime in late May or June, with continuing claims falling as rehiring resumes,” Citigroup economist Andrew Hollenhorst told Reuters. “The speed of the decline will indicate how fast rehiring is occurring.”

Some peers are more optimistic.

“The numbers are very high, but they’re stepping down every week, and I see no reason why that decline in filings wouldn’t continue,” Keith Hall, chief economist for the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, told The Wall Street Journal. “Employers are likely poised to bring people back, but right now we’re in a holding pattern.”

The Context For Unemployment Numbers 

Notably, unemployment backlogs have kept many applicants from receiving their checks, according to the WSJ, so the economic impact of the payouts may be delayed.

In conjunction with the jobless report, the BLS recorded a 3.3% decline in the export price index between March and April compared to a 1.7% drop between February and March. The month-over-month import price index fell 2.6% against the previous term’s 2.4%.

Related Links:

Pace Of New Jobless Claims Slows Week-Over-Week; Moody's Economist Says There's More To Come

Americans File 6.6M New Unemployment Claims As Pandemic Drives Recession