New unemployment claims remain sky high with more than 1.2 million Americans filing for some sort of unemployment last week, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. The numbers, for now, appear to be trending downward, but with many figures being revised downward in the previous few weeks, instability remains.

A total of 816,247 Americans filed for unemployment through state unemployment programs last week, while an additional 348,912 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance were filed in 48 states, bringing the total number of claims last week just south of 1.2 million.

“Today’s report had a lot of large swings and revisions,” Daniel Zhao, an economist and data scientist at Glassdoor, wrote on Twitter. “Unclear if it’s settling into a more stable pattern so will need to take claims data over last and next few weeks with a grain of salt. At the very least, the trend is downward.”

The downward trend appears to mean that the new-year surge is subsiding, according to Zhao. It comes as more and more states continue to make progress on vaccine distribution.

Monthly unemployment figures will be released on Friday, February 5, and should provide a more comprehensive look at how many individuals are on unemployment as the pandemic enters its 11th month.

Email Patrick Kearns

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