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This Week in Foodservice

Real Estate Shakeout Will Create Great Opportunities for Some Restaurant Operators

For several decades, the U.S. Department of Labor has published the number of jobless claims that were filed the previous week. The data comes from hard numbers, not projections or from a sample. Now there were occasional adjustments when a state got behind in filing its claims. For example, in the wake of a hurricane a few years ago Puerto Rico fell behind in filing new claims for months.

Fast forward to today, during a period when jobless claims statistics land on the front page of local newspapers and serve as major stories on television news it seems all kinds of problems have arisen with this data. In fact, Crain’s Cleveland Business documented all kinds of problems with the initial claims. Space limitations don’t allow for a complete list of the problems, but Crain’s does a good job of lining up a whole list of things to justify the headline “U.S. jobless claims data becomes trickier as economic gauge.”

The large volume of claims presents a huge problem. Claims that had been running at slightly greater than 200,000 a week suddenly skyrocketed into the millions. A total of 38.6 million claims were filed from mid-March to May 21. This is roughly equal to all the claims filed because of the Great Recession running from December 2007 to June 2009. Crain’s also reports Washington State paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits to imposters.

In the coming weeks business leaders will use initial-jobless claims stats to make decisions on how to begin to bring their organizations back online following mandated closures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. Hopefully, they will use these figures cautiously.

Economic News This Week

Foodservice News This Week

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