Another week, another jobless claims report.
And just like in recent weeks, we're expecting a very modest improvement from the previous report. Economists polled by Refinitiv think 825,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week. That would be 15,000 fewer claims than the week before.
Sure, that's an improvement. But if that's the pace we're at, it's going to take a long time to get back to pre-pandemic claims levels around 200,000.
Continued jobless claims, which count workers who have filed for benefits for more than two weeks in a row, are expected at 10.7 million -- compared to just below 11 million in the last report.
But economists are worried that one reason continued claims are declining could be that people have maxed out their benefit allowance (up to 26 weeks of aid) and are instead moving onto other government aid programs. One such program is the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides aid for another 13 weeks.
So if claims numbers go down for the wrong reasons, it would be a bad sign.