Initial unemployment claims have been a sticking point for the recovery narrative:
The current level is 857,000, which is ~250,000 higher than the highest point from the last recession. Some people have argued that this number is soft due to issues with state unemployment programs, which are being flooded with applications (emphasis added).
Adding to the challenge for analysts and forecasters, the pandemic has thrown the data itself into disarray. For the second week in a row, the jobless claims data carried a Golden-State-size asterisk: California last month announced that it would temporarily stop accepting new unemployment applications while it addressed a huge processing backlog and installed procedures to weed out fraud.
In the absence of up-to-date data, the Labor Department is assuming California’s claim number was unchanged from its pre-shutdown figure of more than 225,000 applications, or more than a quarter of the national total. The state began accepting