Weekly Jobless Claims Rise To Nearly 900,000


New claims for state unemployment benefits rose to 898,000 (on a seasonally adjusted basis) last week, slightly higher than the previous week in a signal that the U.S. labor market’s recovery is continuing to falter.

Key Facts

This is the seventh week in a row that weekly claims have clocked in above 800,000—that’s significantly higher than the pre-pandemic record of 695,000 weekly claims from 1982.

Another 372,891 people filed new claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides benefits to self-employed workers, gig workers, and freelancers not eligible for traditional state programs.

The fresh data from the Labor Department comes as the prospects for another round of coronavirus relief legislation—which has remained elusive in Washington for months—before the election appeared to dwindle.

Crucial Quote

“The numbers are extremely worrisome, in my opinion, and they point to a labor market that is struggling to make progress,” Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, told the New York Times.

Big Number

25.3 million. That’s how many people are receiving some form of government unemployment benefit.

Key Background

With millions of Americans still out of work, and nearly a million more filing new unemployment claims every week, economists agree that the failure to pass another round of federal relief legislation means that the economy will continue to suffer over the fall and winter months. “The most serious blow to the economy as the year ends will be the failure of President Trump and Congress to come to terms on more help to those hit hardest by the pandemic,” Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi wrote in a recent note.

Further Reading

Mnuchin Casts Fresh Doubt On Comprehensive Stimulus Deal Before Election (Forbes)

Pelosi Says Democrats Still Won’t Accept $1.8 Trillion White House Stimulus Offer (Forbes)

McConnell Says Senate Will Vote On ‘Targeted’ Stimulus Bill As Trump Pushes For A Bigger Deal—Again (Forbes)

Unemployment Claims Remain High After Trump Stymies Covid Relief Talks (Forbes)

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