Layoffs fell slightly to 1.0 million last week. This is a decrease of 98,000 from the previous week’s revised level. Cumulatively, from the start of the lockdown in mid-March to the latest week, there have been nearly 58 million Americans who have lost their jobs. However, there were far fewer, 15 million, continuing to receive unemployment checks in the latest week, implying that even with new layoffs there are job creations and people are able to come off unemployment. In the meantime, continued claims have declined for the last four weeks.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that they change the methodology used to seasonally adjust the national initial claims. As a result, the non-seasonally adjusted estimate will be also reported in this blog. Based on the release, the non-seasonally adjusted initial claims fell to 821,591, a decrease of 67,958 from the previous week.

The National Association of REALTORS® closely monitors the weekly claims for unemployment insurance provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since this data is also released for each state, we track the jobless claims activity at the state level. This state-level data report is a very important indicator to watch at economic turning points because it provides detail on what’s happening week by week, rather than each month or quarter.

Thirty-nine states reported a decrease in new claims for the week ending August 22. Taking a closer look at the percentage change of the last week’s new claims with the new claims of the previous week, Mississippi (-37%) had the largest drop in layoffs followed by Florida (-37%) and Connecticut (-32%). In contrast, unadjusted advance claims increased in Iowa, Rhode Island, and Illinois. Particularly, compared to the previous week, initial claims increased by 16% in Iowa; 15% in Rhode Island; 13% in Illinois.

Moreover, the current release provides information about people filing new and total Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Among 48 states, 11 million people received benefits in the week ending August 8 using the federal government’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Nearly 250,000 fewer people claimed to receive PUA benefits compared to a week earlier. California, Hawaii, and Kansas had the most people receiving PUA benefits.  Specifically, 16% of the labor force in California received PUA benefits in the week ending August 8 followed by Hawaii (15%) and Kansas (15%).

The map below shows you the percentage change of layoffs for each state. Click on a state to see how many layoffs occurred every week within the last year.

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