Yahoo Finance’s Emily McCormick joins the Yahoo Finance Live panel to discuss the latest jobless claims numbers.
ZACK GUZMAN: But first, a lot to break down with the economy today, as we got that number, of course, on jobless claims coming in higher than expected. And yesterday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell laying out the path to tapering as soon as November. So a lot to discuss, as he sees substantial further progress being made in the recovery. For more on those unemployment claims, though, I want to bring in Yahoo Finance's Emily McCormick, who's been taking a look at those, as well as just where we sit in that recovery.
Emily, I appreciate you coming on here to break the numbers down. As we've seen, though, larger than what economists were expecting, still hovering around that 350,000 level.
EMILY MCCORMICK: That's right, Zack. And just taking a look at the data coming out this morning, a little bit disappointing to see further backsliding here from that pandemic-era low in new jobless claims that we had at the beginning of September. But going through these headline figures here, we had initial jobless claims for the week ended September 18 coming in at 351,000, well above the 320,000 that had been expected and a slightly upwardly revised 335,000 during the prior week.
Now, even though we did get this uptick in this latest data, we should note that there is usually some weekly volatility here. But if we look at that four-week moving average for filings, it did come down by about 750, to come in just below 336,000, so that moving average, of course, smoothing out some of that week-to-week volatility and still trending in the right direction. Now, in terms of what perhaps drove this increase in new jobless claims last week, some economists are saying that this is a little bit of a delayed response to Hurricane Ida.
What Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macroeconomics had to say in an email this morning was that, quote, "claims were boosted by a combination of relatively unfriendly seasonals and we think claims triggered by Hurricane Ida but delayed until after the chaos subsided." He also went on to mention that he doesn't believe that the Delta variant is necessarily at play here when it comes to this latest rise, since we have, of course, been dealing with the variant here in the US for the better part of the past two months now and have still seen claims come down and also hit that low since March 2020, even despite some of these related challenges. And then finally the last thing I want to highlight out from this morning's report is that we did see the total number of claimants across state and federal programs, continuing to come down. That was a positive in this morning's data.
That total number of claims coming in just under 11.3 million. That dropped by nearly 900,000 compared to the previous week. And given that this data is delivered on a multi-week delay, this is still not yet capturing the fact that those federal enhanced unemployment benefits expired at the national level on September 6. We'll likely finally start getting that updated data in next week's report. That will be something to watch here as we continue to track jobless claims, Zack and Akiko.