Unemployment Claims Spike To Nearly One Million As Pandemic Layoffs Continue
Another 965,000 workers filed new unemployment claims last week (on a seasonally adjusted basis), a sharp increase from the 784,000 claims the previous week and significantly higher than what economists were expecting as the coronavirus pandemic continues to batter the labor market.
Thursday’s data is the highest weekly total since August—a worrying sign that the labor market’s initial rebound after the disaster in the early days of the pandemic is now moving in the wrong direction.
States have begun paying out an extra $300 per week in benefits for eligible workers (authorized by the $900 billion stimulus package President Trump signed into law just after Christmas), but that money will run out in March.
“The rise and level of new unemployment claims is shocking,” Bankrate senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick said. “This reminds us that the economic crisis has not gone away, far from it, at a time when multiple crises have been vying for our attention. It hasn’t helped that administration of COVID-19 vaccines has been slow to gather momentum since the pandemic is at the epicenter of the economy’s ills.”
18.4 million. That’s how many people are receiving some form of government unemployment benefit.
What To Watch For
President-elect Biden is set to announce his plans for trillions of dollars in federal economic assistance on Thursday. Those plans are expected to include expanded federal unemployment benefits, a provision to increase the amount of the second round of direct payments from $600 to $2,000, more aid for state and local governments, and more money for vaccine distribution, schools, rental assistance, small business aid and expanded tax credits.
Here’s What We Know About Biden’s Massive Stimulus Plan Coming This Week (Forbes)
The PPP Is Back Online Today—Here’s What You Need To Know (Forbes)
Keep An Eye On The Mail: Treasury Now Sending 8 Million Stimulus Checks Via Prepaid Debit Card (Forbes)
Unemployment Claims Remain Flat At 787,000 As States Begin Sending Extra $300 Checks (Forbes)