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U.S. Jobless Claims Give Mixed Picture With Shift in Adjustments

Sept. 3, 2020, 3:56 PM

U.S. unemployment-claims figures gave a mixed picture of the labor market amid government changes to seasonal adjustments to account for distortions from the pandemic.

Initial jobless claims in state programs totaled 881,000 in the week ended Aug. 29, according to Labor Department data Thursday. That follows 1.01 million in the prior week, a figure that’s not directly comparable because of the change to methodology.

Unadjusted figures gave a different impression. Before any seasonal adjustments, claims rose last week, driven largely by California. And applications under the separate federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program -- which targets the self-employed, gig workers and ...