881,000 new jobless claims files nationally last week, showing an economy still reeling from pandemic.

The Department of Labor reports another week of elevated unemployment benefits claims filings

In the week ending August 29, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 881,000, a decrease of 130,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 5,000 from 1,006,000 to 1,011,000. The 4-week moving average was 991,750, a decrease of 77,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,250 from 1,068,000 to 1,069,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 9.1 percent for the week ending August 22, a decrease of 0.8 percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate.

The department has revised its seasonal adjustment methodology. Calculated Risk handles it this way;

Note: The DOL changed their seasonal adjustment method, so to compare to the previous week, we need to use the NSA data.  See Technical Note on Weekly Unemployment Claims

The Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA) claims increased to 833,352 from 825,761 the previous week. These are directly comparable since the Seasonal Adjustment Factor was identical for both weeks.

This was the 24th consecutive week with extraordinarily high initial claims.

CR continues,

Initial claims, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are still close to 1.6 million per week.

The worst week during the great recession was 665,000 (SA). So total initial weekly claims are still more than 900 thousand higher than the worst week of the great recession!

…This was a very disappointing weekly report. Initial claims increased (NSA), there was a sharp increase in PUA initial claims (might be a data dump), and the total continued claims increased – and remains at a very high level.

The Associated Press reports

The latest figures, released Thursday by the Labor Department, suggest that nearly six months after the eruption of the coronavirus, the economy is still struggling to sustain a recovery and rebuild a job market that was devastated by the recession. In the previous week, more than 1 million had sought jobless aid.

All told, the government said that 13.3 million people are continuing to receive traditional jobless benefits, up from 1.7 million a year ago.

The nearly 1 million people who keep applying for unemployment aid each week point to a sluggish pace of improvement.

The AP also comments on the change in methodology.

Thursday’s figure, though historically high, marked the lowest number of jobless claims since the viral pandemic first paralyzed the economy in March. But beginning this week, the department tweaked the way it adjusts its calculations to account for seasonal changes, thereby making it difficult to compare last week’s figure with previous weeks’. Unadjusted for seasonal variations, though, the numbers show that 833,000 Americans applied for benefits last week, up from 826,000 the week before.

The state Employment Security Department will release its UI numbers later today.