The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose for the second straight week, intensifying fears that a new cycle of business closures amid a resurgence in coronavirus cases is halting – or reverse the early recovery of the labor market.
The latest figures from jobless claims by the Department of Labor, covering the week ending July 25, show that more than 1.43 million workers sought unemployment benefits last week, pushing the number total since departure began for more than 54 million.
Economists surveyed by Refinitiv expected 1.45 million new claims.
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It is the 19th consecutive week that claims for the unemployed have risen above 1 million; before the pandemic, the record high was 695,000 set in 1982. The total of the previous weeks has been revised from 6,000 to 1,42 million.
Ongoing claims, the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of help, rose by 867,000 to just over 17 million.
California accounted for the largest jump in claims with 61,154 new workers applying for assistance, followed by Virginia (up to 25,049), Nevada (14,515) and Oregon (11,013).
The resurgence of COVID-19 infections and new closure measures in several U.S. states, including Florida and California, have raised concerns about the economic recovery it is undergoing after strong fiscal growth. work in May and June.
More than 4 million cases have been confirmed in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University, the largest in the world.
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The renewed threat of another redundancy is emerging as the $ 600-a-week supplement in unemployment benefits, part of the $ 2.2 trillion CARES Act last March, is set to officially expires.
Congress and the White House are currently negotiating another emergency aid package, which could include the extension – but a significant reduction – of extra work assistance. Republicans have proposed cutting sweetening benefits to $ 200 a week until states can adopt a more complicated system that could put the aid at 70 percent of the worker’s previous salary.
If the virus outbreak intensifies and has forced businesses to close again, economists have warned that the consequences could be severe.
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“The way forward for the economy is extraordinarily uncertain, and depends in large part on our success in keeping the virus under control,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters on -Four during a virtual press conference.
He sounded strong about the time it will take for the U.S. economy to return to pre-crisis levels, warning that he anticipates the additional departure from the pandemic.
The latest report on jobless claims came as the Commerce Department reported that the nation’s GDP, the broadest measure of goods and services produced in the country, has shrunk from a crumbling of 32.9 in one hundred in the second quarter.
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