Key Highlights

  • Number of new unemployment claims jumped to nearly 900,000 last week
  • This an increase of nearly 77,000 from previous week
  • New claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance hit 373,000, down approximately 100,000 from previous week
  • None of these figures includes new numbers from California

Unemployment claims are going in the wrong direction. This last week, according to the US Department of Labor, new state unemployment claims hit nearly 900,000, an increase of nearly 77,000 from the previous week. On top of that, new claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program came in at 373,000, down roughly 100,000 from the previous week.

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Note that neither of these figures includes claims from recently unemployed workers living in California due to that state’s huge processing backlogs.

Up until last week, new claims for state jobless benefits had come in at a fairly consistent 800,000/week since the early summer. This weekly increase to nearly 900,000, the highest tally of unemployment claims since August, is not good news.

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist with Pantheon Macroeconomics, said, “It’s discouraging. We’re still stuck at a level of claims that’s far higher than it was during the worst of what followed the crash of 2008. The labor market appears to be stalled…”

Even without fresh numbers of unemployment claims from California, Michael Gapen, chief US economist with Barclays, said that these latest statistics “…point to a lot of churn in the labor market, and it appears the rate of firings has picked up.”

Pending layoffs of tens of thousands of workers have been announced but not yet executed by large employers including United Airlines, Disney, and Allstate and more are expected as leisure and hospitality sectors of the economy continue to struggle.

\Meanwhile, a group of researchers from the University of Chicago and Notre Dame University found that poverty has grown by 6M people in the past three months. Another new study by researchers at Columbia University indicated that the number of poor people has grown by 8M since May.

Hopes for a second round of relief packages continue to be stalled in Washington DC, a “…failure that may cause the economy to slow further in the coming months,” wrote Nelson D. Schwartz for The New York Times.

Thanks to the New York Times, CNBC and US Department of Labor.

Also read: A Very Welcome May Surprise – Unemployment Fell to 13.3%, Fed Predicts Years of High Unemployment, Inman Handbook – Becoming a Luxury Agent


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