The number of jobs lost due to the coronavirus shutdown continue to mount, with the latest weekly total of Americans applying for unemployment benefits coming in at another 1.2 million. Yahoo Finance's Emily McCormick and Zack Guzman discuss.
ZACK GUZMAN: Yet another gain in terms of unemployment applications here-- above more than one million Americans filing for those benefits again. Of course, we've seen that-- the 20th straight week new claims have topped one million. And of course, when we judge us against expectations, it's worth noting there that the number was 1.186 million Americans filing for unemployment claims. That was slightly better than the expectations there at 1.4 million.
But for more on that you, can't just look at initial claims. I want to bring on Yahoo Finance's Emily McCormick who has details beyond those, in addition to continuing claims as well. And, Emily, put this into context for us, because it's the last update we're going to get before tomorrow's big jobs number.
EMILY MCCORMICK: That's right, Zack. And it's worth noting that the number of new unemployment insurance claims improved last week a pandemic-era low. But as you mentioned, it still did hold above 1 million for a 20th straight week. So those initial jobless claims for the week ending August 1 came in at 1.19 million-- less than the 1.4 million that had been expected. And that was down by 249,000 from the prior week's revised level.
Now, since the week ending March 20, more than 55 million Americans have filed for new unemployment insurance claims. But again, at 1.19 million, the number of new claims last week was at that lowest point since the start of the pandemic after peaking at about 6.9 million in late March. Now, this was also the first decline that we've seen in new claims in three weeks after we saw back to back increases in mid-July-- so at least a little bit of encouraging note there.
Now, nearly every US state did report declines in their levels of unadjusted new claims during the last week of July. That included states in the South and West that had been grappling with a rise in coronavirus case counts and business re-closures during the start of the summer. So just to highlight a couple-- we saw unadjusted new claims in the very populous states of California and Florida coming down by 16,000 and 17,500 respectively last week.
Now, as you mentioned, I also want to highlight those continuing claims. Those also fell more than expected for the week ended July 25. Those were at 16.1 million, below the 16.9 million that had been anticipated-- and again, a decline on a week over week basis. Now, taking a look at the market reaction here-- these results came out ahead of the opening bell around 8:30 this morning. We did see stock futures pare their declines and actually turn positive in the wake of this report. We do see stocks trading a bit choppily today-- of course, sort of on pause now and in a holding pattern ahead of tomorrow's July jobs report. Zack.
ZACK GUZMAN: Overall, Emily, I mean, when we got the ADP number, that was also pretty weak. This, as you noted here, better than expectations. But when we think about what could happen there, it's tough to predict these things. As we know, ADP doesn't necessarily always do a phenomenal job of predicting what we should expect. But it's clear that a lot of economists are noting that these numbers are indicating a weakening recovery when we think about where we were just a few months ago.
So I mean, what should we be bracing for when we think about that jobs number tomorrow morning?
EMILY MCCORMICK: Well, as you mentioned, we are looking at a slowing pace of recovery. We have consensus economists looking for 1.5 million jobs added back for that headline change in non-farm payrolls figure. Of course, that would be a pretty significant moderation after the gain of a record 4.8 million that we saw in June-- also looking to see that unemployment rate tick down a bit to 10.5% versus 11.1% in June. But again, that is going to be above the peak that we saw during the global financial crisis at 10% on that jobless rate. And then just take a look at those average hourly earnings-- probably going to see those moderate again on a month over month basis just as we see these compositional effects of low wage workers being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
ZACK GUZMAN: And just one more thing to highlight here too, since we like breaking it out on a state by state level basis, as the Department of Labor always does there-- as we've been looking at it, trying to break down which states are feeling this continued struggle in the pandemic area-- and when you look at that data, interesting to note that Nevada has the highest insured unemployment rate-- the ratio there of Americans in the labor force on unemployment benefits, Nevada's insured unemployment rate nearing 25%. That's come down a bit over the last two months, but still leading the nation.
Hawaii, California, Louisiana, New York rounding out the top five-- Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Michigan also of note-- Michigan there sitting about 14%. A key swing state too, mind you, and something that we've tracked here on the show as we think about how these states are grappling. California, of course, I need to remind you how they had to shut down yet again. That's one of the things that we talk about here, states enduring their own paths. But those are the ones right now seeing the highest unemployment rate, at least on that metric, from the Department of Labor. Emily McCormick, we appreciate you bringing us that. We'll, of course, be chatting the big jobs number with you tomorrow.