U.S. unemployment claims drop to lowest level of lockdown

U.S. unemployment claims drop to lowest level of lockdown”

Part of the decrease in so-called continuing claims was likely because of people exhausting eligibility for benefits. The number of claims exceeds the number of claimants because of overlap between state and federal jobless aid programs.

In the week ending August 29, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 130,000 from a revised level of 1 million, the Labor Department said in a report released on Thursday, making it the second time in the past 24 weeks that the figure has come in below 1 million. As of August 15, more than 29 million Americans were collecting some form of unemployment insurance. The increase in the raw numbers, which many economists prefer to focus on, added to a raft of data suggesting the labor market recovery was ebbing. And applications under the separate federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program - which targets the self-employed, gig workers and others who don't typically qualify for state programs - jumped by about 152,000 to 759,000, led nearly entirely by an increase in California.

As COVID-19 shutdowns rippled through the workforce, initial jobless claims spiked by 3 million to reach a record 3.3 million in the week ending March 21, and then doubled to reach a record 6.87 million in the week ending March 28. The number of claims is gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels but is still much higher than in any week of the global financial crisis.

Looking ahead, Andrew Hunter of Capital Economics said Friday's jobs report was likely to show that employment continued to rebound last month. American factories, too, have been on the upswing for three straight months. MGM Resorts is laying off 18,000, about a fourth of its USA staff. Coca-Cola, heavily reliant on entertainment venues, is offering buyouts to 4,000.

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Another report on Thursday showed job cuts elevated in August amid layoffs by airlines.

Homebase, a provider of scheduling software for small businesses, reports that small business hiring has flat-lined since June.

The now-expired $600-a-week federal jobless benefit had helped sustain Chuck Caple after he was forced to close his hair salon in Richmond, Virginia, and a side business training hair stylists. "Everything got back on track". "That's money you give kids for a paper route".

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