Unemployment claims in US hit pandemic levels lowest as jobs bolster – Daily Local

Paul wiseman

Washington (AP) – The number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits fell to a pandemic low of 340,000 last week. This is another sign that the labor market is gradually recovering from the economic collapse caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Unemployment claims fell by 14,000, the Labor Ministry reported Thursday. The number of weeks has been steadily declining since it exceeded 900,000 in early January.

The COVID-19 vaccination has supported the job market by encouraging businesses to reopen or extend their hours of operation and fire consumers to restaurants, bars and stores. As a result, employers across the country are boosting employment to meet rising consumer demand.

Nonetheless, the resurgence of cases associated with the highly contagious delta mutation has clouded the economic outlook. The number of COVID-19 cases now exceeds 135,000 per day since less than 12,000 in early July.

The rate of weekly unemployment assistance requests remains high by historical standards. Before COVID-19 hit the United States in March 2020, the average number was around 220,000 per week.

Unemployment assistance claims have long been viewed as a real-time measure of the health of the labor market. However, during the pandemic, their credibility declined. In many states, the weekly numbers are inflated by fraud and the multiple submissions of unemployed Americans trying to overcome bureaucratic hurdles to cash in on them. These complications help explain why apps remain exceptionally fast despite high adoption.

The labor market has recovered since the pandemic crippled economic activity last year, with employers shedding more than 22 million jobs in March and April 2020. This shows the employer added 750,000 others last month. The number of jobs posted (a record 10.1 million in June) is increasing faster than applicants are lining up to fill them.

The weekly federal allowance of $ 300, which became available to the unemployed in addition to the state’s regular unemployment assistance after the pandemic, expires Monday. Greg Dako, chief US economist at Oxford Economics, estimates that more than 11 million people will lose at least some profits in 35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Of this total, 8.9 million lose all aid to the unemployed. 2.1 million people lose $ 300 a week in federal checks, but they continue to receive state unemployment assistance.

Twenty-five states that are trying to get the unemployed back to work have already halted federal assistance to an additional 3.5 million people, Daco said.

In last week’s report, JP Morgan economists Peter McCrory and Daniel Silver found that there was a “zero correlation” between job growth and the state’s decision to abolish assistance. – federal unemployment, at least so far. “The loss of income due to unemployment thresholds can itself lead to unemployment and offset the benefits,” they said, as it encourages more people to return to work. I warn you.

During the week of August 21, more than 2.7 million people received traditional unemployment benefits. This is the lowest level since the pandemic, up from 2.9 million last week.

About 12.2 million people received unemployment benefits during the week of August 14, including federal benefits, a dramatic decrease from 29.7 million the previous year.

The decrease is partly due to an increase in the number of active people and the lack of assistance during unemployment. However, this also reflects cancellations in many states of the federal unemployment assistance program for the self-employed and separate programs for the long-term unemployed.

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APEconomics writer Christopher Rugaber contributed to this report.

Unemployment claims in US hit pandemic levels lowest as jobs bolster – Daily Local

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