Unemployment Claims Hold Steady, In A Sign That Economic Recovery Is Stalling

(PatrioticPost.com)- More than a million Americans are still filing for unemployment benefits every week.

According to the Department of Labor, first-time unemployment claims totaled 1.3 million for the week ending July 11. While that continues a downward weekly trend, the decrease has begun to taper off. Last week’s total is only 10,000 less than the week before.

There were 1,310,000 first-time jobless claims filed last week compared to 1,408,000 the week before. This data may suggest that the recovery in jobs may be starting to taper off as states around the country are rolling back or pausing economic re-opening efforts.

When taking into accounted adjusted claims, more than 1.5 million people filed for the first time last week, which is actually an increase of 109,000 people from the week prior.

The chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, Rubeela Farooqi, said the risk of permanent job losses remains high. She said:

“Overall, filings remain high and are declining at a stubbornly slow pace. The pace could slow even further or reverse in coming weeks in response to a surge in virus cases and related closures of businesses.”

Continued unemployment claims dropped by 422,000 last week from the week prior, standing at 17.3 million. This number represents people who have filed unemployment claims for two weeks in a row or more. When taking into account the adjusted number, though, those continued claims increased 838,000.

Daniel Zhao, the senior economist at Glassdoor, explained:

“The rising UI claims add to the evidence that the recovery may be stalling and come at a critical juncture in the crisis as COVID-19 cases rise around the country and expanded unemployment benefits for Americans are set to expire. The risk of a surprise drop in employment in July is rising, pointing to a roller coaster recovery as the labor market starts to turn down again.”

In addition to this large number of people filing for traditional unemployment, there were roughly 928,500 people who filed for first-time pandemic unemployment assistance in the last week. That number represented a drop of about 118,000 from the week prior. Continued pandemic benefits totaled 14.3 million people last week, an increase of roughly 406,000 from the week before.

Congress created the pandemic program for unemployment in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The program expanded unemployment benefits to people who traditionally wouldn’t qualify for the program — some people affected by the coronavirus in specific ways, as well as independent contractors, freelancers and self-employed people.

That part of the program, as well as the added $600 per-week benefit from Congress, resulted in the federal government shelling out more than $80 million last month for unemployment as a whole. According to Treasury Department data, the federal government has spent $171.5 billion on unemployment benefits during this fiscal year.

This includes the pandemic program, the weekly boost, plus the 13-week extension that Congress tacked onto normal weekly benefits. Last month, states doled out more than $35 billion in total unemployment benefits, compared to only about $4 billion in the month of March.