Jobless Claims Decrease Slightly To 400,000, Remain Elevated

By Thomas Catenacci

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims decreased to 400,000 last week as the economy continues its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics figure released Thursday represented a slight decrease in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending July 17, when 424,000 new jobless claims were reported. That number was revised up from the 419,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.

Economists predicted the number would come in at 380,000 on Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“I do expect to see job growth pick up, but I’m not sure how and when these issues are going to be resolved and how households are going to respond,” High Frequency Economics chief economist Rubeela Farooqi told the WSJ.

Jobless claims have steadily dropped throughout April, May and June, hitting multiple pandemic lows. Roughly 13.2 million Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits nationwide, according to the Thursday report.

The U.S. economy recovered 850,000 jobs in June, far exceeding economists’ predictions, and more than 3 million jobs since January, government data showed.

But, while many Americans return to work, job vacancies continue to hit new record highs. There were more than 9.2 million job openings at the end of May, the Labor Department said.

Republicans have blamed the apparent U.S. labor shortage on the $300 weekly unemployment bonus given to out-of-work Americans. Democrats have argued that child care and lingering concerns about coronavirus are causing people to remain unemployed.

In states that withdrew from the federal benefit, significantly fewer people have filed for jobless claims compared to states that have opted to remain in the program until it expires in September, according to a recent Daily Caller News Foundation analysis.

Meanwhile, the White House continues to push its infrastructure and welfare legislation. On Wednesday, the Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure package, which includes $550 billion in new spending, in a 67-to-32 vote.

“This deal makes key investments to put people to work all across the country—in cities, small towns, rural communities, and across our coastlines and plains,” President Joe Biden said, applauding the Senate’s efforts. “It will put Americans to work in good-paying, union jobs repairing our roads and bridges.”

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Author: Thomas Catenacci

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