Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims increased sharply to 853,000

The DOL reported:

In the week ending December 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 853,000, an increase of 137,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 4,000 from 712,000 to 716,000. The 4-week moving average was 776,000, an increase of 35,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,000 from 739,500 to 740,500.
emphasis added

This does not include the 427,609 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that was up from 288,234 the previous week.

The following graph shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims since 1971.

Click on graph for larger image.

The dashed line on the graph is the current 4-week average. The four-week average of weekly unemployment claims increased to 776,000.

The previous week was revised up.

The second graph shows seasonally adjust continued claims since 1967 (lags initial by one week).

At the worst of the Great Recession, continued claims peaked at 6.635 million, but then steadily declined.

Continued claims increased to 5,757,000 (SA) from 5,527,000 (SA) last week and will likely stay at a high level until the crisis abates.

Note: There are an additional 8,555,763 receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that decreased from 8,869,502 the previous week (there are questions about these numbers). This is a special program for business owners, self-employed, independent contractors or gig workers not receiving other unemployment insurance. 

An additional 4,532,876 are receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) that decreased from 4,569,016 the previous week. These last two programs are set to expire on December 26th.

This was higher than expected.