After surging from early December to mid-January, the number of Americans filing for first time jobless benefits has slowed significantly as blue states have miraculously and coincidentally lifted the most draconian pandemic restrictions since President Biden's inauguration. However, while last week's claims improved (793k, worse than the 760k expected), it was from a notably revised higher level the previous week (from 779k to 812k)
Ohio saw a huge surge in jobless claims as Florida saw the biggest drop...
And while it is well below its peak levels in June, last week saw the total number of Americans of some form of jobless benefit surge back above 20 million...
As Pandemic Emergency Claims surged back near record highs...
Worse still, bear in mind that Fed Chair Powell warned yesterday that in 'real' terms, unemployment remains around 10% - as bad as at the peak of the financial crisis.
“Published unemployment rates during COVID have dramatically understated the deterioration in the labor market,” Powell said during prepared remarks at the Economic Club of New York.
So perhaps don't celebrate the improving claims data just yet.