USA unemployment claims increase slightly to 870,000

USA unemployment claims increase slightly to 870,000”

First-time claims for unemployment insurance in the United States increased slightly last week, indicating a stalled recovery in the pandemic-ravaged labor market amid congressional deadlock over more coronavirus relief.

Almost 900,000 more USA workers have filed for new unemployment benefits, the Labor Department said in its weekly report Thursday. The declining trend was reversed again in the week ending August 15.

The number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits after earlier filing an initial claim fell by 167,000 to 12.6 million, the Labor Department said, while the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs nationwide for the week ending September 5 dropped by 3.7 million to just over 26 million. The steady decline in that figure over the past several months reflects that some of the unemployed are being rehired.

The growing concerns about fraudulent applications for unemployment benefits have focused mainly on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The federal program was approved in late March as part of the 2-trillion-dollar Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These numbers do not include those who file with a special government program meant to help those in the "gig economy" and otherwise are not eligible for traditional unemployment.

More news: NY launches COVID-19 tracking app for smartphones

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits expired at the end of July, but Iowans received nearly $4 million in retroactive payments last week.

Economists expected initial claims of 840,000 and continuing claims of 12.3 million, according to median estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

Despite the number falling significantly since March (when 6.9 million people applied for unemployment insurance in one week), the latest figure also shows that workers are continuing to be laid off at an unprecedented rate some six months into the pandemic.

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, in congressional testimony on the impact of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus on Wednesday, said that while the labor market has made a significant recovery, the outlook remains "highly uncertain". This is still above the historic low of 3.5 percent the country experienced before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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