Thursday, May 28, 2020

28/5/20: America's Scariest Charts Updated

It is Thursday, so time to update U.S. initial unemployment claims counts and labor markets charts for the data through the end of last week:

A summary table first:

Per latest, initial unemployment claims increased in the week through May 23rd by 1,914,958, marking a major slowdown on the previous weeks' increase, but still running new unemployment claims additions at a rate in excess of 1 million per week, for the 10th consecutive week.

This means that from the start of March 2020 through the week ending May 23rd, total number of initial unemployment claims filed in the U.S. stands at 37,198,539. For comparison, cumulative jobs losses in all recessions since 1945 and through the recession of 2009-2010 amount to 31,664,000.

Adjusting for timings of new unemployment claims and for the most current data on actual non-farm employment, the chart below provides an estimate for current non-farm employment in the U.S.:

Current estimated non-farm employment is at 121,021,000, down from 152,442,000 in February 2020. Current employment, therefore is estimated at around the levels last seen in October 1997.

The chart below plots the history of the initial unemployment claims, using 26 weeks (half-year) cumulative:

In the entire history of the data series for initial unemployment claims, prior to COVID19, there is only one week in which total claims exceeded 1 million mark, the second week of January 1982, when the new claims hit 1,073,500. During the Great Recession, the worst week for initial unemployment claims saw claims rising 956,791. Over the last 10 weeks, the average weekly initial claims filings stood at 3,719,854, which is roughly equivalent to five worst weeks of the Great Recession combined (weeks of 27/12/2008 - 24/01/2009).

Here is a chart showing U.S. employment index across past recessions and post-recession recoveries:

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