Tags: Coronavirus | jobless | claims | virusv | unemployment | benefits

1.4 Million Seek Jobless Aid as Virus Keeps Forcing Layoffs

1.4 Million Seek Jobless Aid as Virus Keeps Forcing Layoffs

By    |   Thursday, 30 July 2020 08:35 AM

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased for a second straight week, a sign the economic rebound is increasingly at risk with Congress poised to potentially let supplemental $600 payments expire.

Initial claims through regular state programs rose to 1.43 million in the week ended July 25, up 12,000 from the prior week, a Labor Department report showed Thursday. There were 17 million Americans filing for ongoing benefits through those programs in the period ended July 18, up 867,000 from the prior week -- the largest increase since early May.

The continuing wave of job cuts is occurring against the backdrop of a spike in virus cases that has led many states to halt plans to reopen businesses and has caused millions of consumers to delay any return to traveling, shopping and other normal economic activity. Those trends have forced many businesses to cut jobs or at least delay hiring.

The Labor Department's report Thursday marked the 19th straight week that more than 1 million people have applied for unemployment benefits. Before the coronavirus hit hard in March, the number of Americans seeking unemployment checks had never exceeded 700,000 in any one week, even during the Great Recession.

All told, 17 million people are collecting traditional jobless benefits, a sign that unemployment checks are keeping many American families afloat financially at a time of big job losses and agonizing economic uncertainty.

The pain could soon intensify: An supplemental $600 in weekly federal unemployment benefits is expiring, and Congress is squabbling about extending the aid, which would probably be done at a reduced level.

A resurgence of cases in the South and the West has forced many many bars, restaurants, beauty salons and other businesses to close again or reduce occupancy. Between June 21 and July 19, for example, the percentage of Texas bars that were closed shot up from 25% to 73%; likewise, 75% of California beauty shops were shuttered July 19, up from 40% just a week earlier; according to the data firm Womply.

And many states have imposed restrictions on visitors from states that have reported high level of virus cases, thereby hurting hotels, airlines and other industries that depend on travel.

The virus and the lockdowns meant to contain it have hammered the American economy: Employers slashed a record 20.8 million jobs in April, restoring about 7.5 million of them in May and June as many states began to reopen their economies.

A separate report Thursday showed the U.S. economy shrank at a record 32.9% annualized rate in the second quarter, pointing to the effects business closures and lost jobs are having on the broader economy.

“Even if the reopening goes well -- and many, many people go back to work -- it is still going to take a fairly long time for parts of the economy that involve lots of people getting together in close proximity” to recover, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday, after the central bank kept interest rates near zero. “Those people are going to need support.”

The Labor Department said its seasonal factors had assumed an unadjusted decline of about 181,000 initial claims; the count fell by about 171,000. That resulted in an increase of 12,000 after the department applied its seasonal adjustment.

The data showed initial claims in almost all states fell on an unadjusted basis last week. California -- the most populous state and a hotspot for the virus -- saw a 40,587 decline on an unadjusted basis, while Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas also reported significant drops.

States with increases included Nevada, New Jersey, Virginia and Kansas.

The jump in continuing claims was concentrated in California and Texas, which reported a combined increase of about 576,000 on an unadjusted basis. Florida showed a decline of about 122,000.

States reported 829,697 people filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program for those not eligible for regular state programs including independent contractors and self-employed Americans. That figure was down from the prior week.

And the total number of unadjusted continuing claims fell to 30.2 million three weeks ago from 31.8 million. This figure, though, has reflected overcounting of PUA applications as states clear backlogs.

This report uses material from the AP, Bloomberg and Reuters.

© 2020 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.


   
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Economy
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased for a second straight week, a sign the economic rebound is increasingly at risk with Congress poised to potentially let supplemental $600 payments expire.
jobless, claims, virusv, unemployment, benefits
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2020-35-30
Thursday, 30 July 2020 08:35 AM
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