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How to read those unemployment numbers


Los Angeles. I'm Kai Ryssdal. It is the twenty first of May today as always to have you along everybody and we begin on Thursday. I think. Actually this is the eighth or ninth Thursday in a row with yet another staggering report on people filing for unemployment benefits in this economy. Two point four million people this week down yes from a week ago but still basically the entire population of Houston Texas. Now which need to know though. Is that those weekly unemployment claims. Come in two varieties marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer gets us going with the difference between the two and why that difference matters initial jobless claims are how many new people file for unemployment benefits in a week. Continuing claims measured the total number of workers on unemployment. Erica gration the former head of the Bureau of Labor. Statistics says think of it like a bathtub. The initial claims is how much water is flowing into the bathtub and the continuing claims is how much water is in the bathtub. Each numbers important Chris. Rupp key chief. Financial economist at the Global Financial Group G follows both well. That's why God gave us to do. Is You have to watch both that. Rookie says when he wants to tease out underlying trends that continuing claims numbers more important. Because the minute the total number of people receiving unemployment starts to come down. That's the key signal that the labor markets improving the continuing jobless claims numbers will play a key role in whether the post corona virus recovery. Looks like the or you. Meaning the economy improves quickly. Or is flatter like an L. Dartmouth College Economists Patricia Anderson will be watching that if the continuing claim start falling. Fairly rapidly than. That's good signs that we might be more. U shaped than l-shaped Anderson says if the continuing jobless claims just keep plodding along at about the same rate. That's not a sign that we're really turning the corner. I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for marketplace

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