Updated: Dec 16, 2021
Gregory Heym is Chief Economist at Brown Harris Stevens. His weekly series, The Line, covers new developments to the economy, including trends and forecasts. Read on for the latest report and subscribe here to receive The Line in your inbox.
Weekly jobless claims recently fell to 184,000, the lowest number since September 1969. Many economists were quick to point out this decline was solely due to seasonal adjustments to the data, as the unadjusted number actually rose to 281,000. Leave it to economists to always spoil the fun. But don’t worry too much about seasonal adjustments—not that you were anyway. Just focus on the fact that layoffs are at historically low levels and will stay there for a while.
The Labor Department reported last week that U.S. companies had 11.03 million job openings at the end of October, 431,000 more than the prior month. To put that number in perspective, there were 3.6 million more available jobs out there than people looking for work. Despite the plethora of job openings, payrolls increased by just 210,000 in November. There are many explanations given for this disconnect between job openings and hiring, and we have covered them extensively over the past few months. Whatever the reasons, we are all being impacted by the inability of companies to find workers. You would think at some point the data on job openings, jobless claims, and hiring would get on the same page, but each month we seem to get more confused.
The American Gaming Association announced last week that U.S. casino revenue reached a record $44.15 billion this year, and the year isn’t even finished yet. Some believe that when all the data is in, total revenue for 2021 could approach $50 billion. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, as many industries are having record years. But with most of this revenue generated by slots and table games, I didn’t expect so many people to rush back to casinos while COVID was still such an issue.