Great Britain

Jobless claims top 1.3 million to mark 17th straight week of at least 1 million

JOBLESS claims topped 1.3 million last week as the coronavirus crisis continues to pummel the US economy– marking the 17th straight week of at least 1 million filings.

On Thursday, the Department of Labor reported that over one million jobless claims were filed as the Feds' $600 supplemental payment is set to expire this month.

This figure is similar to the week before, their report revealed.

Weekly claims plummeted in late March and early April – the months when they topped six million twice – but they have exceeded one million for 17 weeks now. 

In the week ending July 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1,300,000 – which is a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week's revised level.

The 4-week rolling average was 1,375,000, the department said, which is a decrease of 60,000 from the previous week's revised average.

The government’s emergency program for unemployed freelancers, self-employed workers and others not covered by the traditional benefits (Claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) fell to 928,000 from just over one million the week before. 

The news comes as the $600 weekly supplemental payments from the government will expire soon as an estimated 50 million Americans are now unemployed. 

It ends next week before Republicans and Democrats in Congress can thrash out a new deal to rescue the economy.

The federal benefit for those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic will end on July 26th and no replacement for it has been set.

Fears are growing for the estimated 50 million people now unemployed following lockdown but they will still receive their state unemployment benefits, which vary by state but averages at $385 a week.

The emergency $600 federal checks are not universally popular, with even some Republicans openly against it after it was revealed the unemployment benefits were actually higher than average wages in over 24 states.

President Trump and the Republicans had hoped the pandemic threat would fade and the economic damage would slowly reverse as America went further into the year.

Instead, Covid-19 cases are spiking, some states are restarting their lockdowns and many parents are unsure if it's safe to send to their children back to school.

"Regretfully, this is not over," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said during a visit to a hospital in Kentucky.

"There were some that hoped this would go away sooner than it has.

"The straight talk here that everyone needs to understand: This is not going away."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's whopping $3 trillion coronavirus aid bill may now even be considered despite being previously dismissed by other senior politicians.

"How many times have we said, 'We're at a critical moment?'" Pelosi raged on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, hard-hit low-wage workers account for more than half the total decline in employment, per new research from Oxford Economics, reported the New York Times. 

“The labor market is not as bad as it was a couple of months ago, but we are still in a very deep hole,” said PNC Financial Services Group's chief economist Gus Faucher.

The country's economic struggles coincide with the the latest COVID-19 surge around the country.

Four states - Arizona, California, Florida and Texas - now account for more than half of new reported US cases.

These four states, along with Colorado and Michigan, backtracked on their reopening plans despite them collectively making-up one-third of the US economy.

Elsewhere, 15 other states have also suspended the end of their lockdowns.

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