U.S. Jobless Claims Increase for a Second Straight Week

  in   Insights

After falling to a pandemic-era low, the number of Americans filing initial unemployment claims have ticked up for a second week in a row, a sign that the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant may have increased layoffs. Seasonally adjusted initial claims, a proxy for layoffs, rose to 351,000 in the week-ending September 18, according to the most recent data release from the U.S. Department of Labor. That was an increase of 16,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 335,000 and above economist’s expectations of 320,000 claims. It was also the highest volume of initial claims in four weeks. Weekly applications for initial unemployment benefits have been generally trending down since the start of 2021, after peaking at 904,000 claims in January. That peak, however, was well below 2020’s high point, when weekly unemployment claims reached more than 6.1 million in early April. Prior to the pandemic, the U.S. consistently logged weekly claims below 220,000. Since the onset of the pandemic, nearly 89 million Americans have filed initial unemployment insurance claims.