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US weekly jobless claims hit 1.2 million, fewer filings than economists expected


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US weekly jobless claims hit 1.2 million, fewer filings than economists expected

New US jobless claims for the week that ended Saturday totaled 1.2 million, the Labor Department said Thursday. That came in below the consensus economist estimate of 1.4 million.It marked a decline from the previous week after two consecutive increases. This week’s report brought total filings over a 20-week period to more than 55 million.Continuing…

US weekly jobless claims hit 1.2 million, fewer filings than economists expected
  • New US jobless claims for the week that ended Saturday totaled 1.2 million, the Labor Department said Thursday. That came in below the consensus economist estimate of 1.4 million.
  • It marked a decline from the previous week after two consecutive increases. This week’s report brought total filings over a 20-week period to more than 55 million.
  • Continuing claims, the aggregate total of people receiving unemployment benefits, totaled 16 million for the week that ended July 25.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Yet another week passed with over a million Americans filing new claims for unemployment insurance, reflecting continued coronavirus-driven layoffs and a flagging economic recovery.

New US weekly jobless claims totaled 1.2 million in the week that ended Saturday, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That came in below the consensus economist estimate of 1.4 million compiled by Bloomberg.

The weekly number is the lowest level of jobless claims seen amid the coronavirus pandemic. It also marked a decline from the previous week after two consecutive weeks of increases.

“The overall tone of the jobless claims data is the best it has been in 3 weeks or so,” said Thomas Simons, money market economist at Jefferies, in a Thursday note. “The outright level of claims has made a new post-pandemic low, and the decline is the biggest since the week of June 6, so the data does not have the same sort of “stalling out” theme that we have seen in recent weeks.”

In just a few months, the more than 55 million unemployment claims filed during the coronavirus pandemic have far surpassed the 37 million during the 18-month Great Recession. The latest figure is still more than double the 665,000 filed during the Great Recession’s worst week.

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Continuing claims, which represent the aggregate total of people receiving unemployment benefits, came in at 16 million for the week that ended July 25, a decline from the prior period’s revised number.

This week’s jobless claims numbers come ahead of a highly anticipated July jobs report, set to be released Friday. After two months of pronounced job additions as a US economic recovery showed signs of life, recent data suggests momentum has slowed. Economists are bracing for a weak report Friday.

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The continued high unemployment filings remain an issue as Congress and the White House debate a new economic-stimulus bill. The additional $600 weekly unemployment benefit expired at the end of July, instantly slashing income for millions of Americans.

Now, Republicans and Democrats are at odds over how to extend the benefit — Democrats want to extend the full $600, while Republicans want to lower the amount.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the program that extends benefits to independent contractors and gig workers, had 655,707 initial claims from 51 states last week. In all state programs, 32.1 million people claimed unemployment insurance in the week ending July 18. That is an increase of 1.3 million from the previous week. 

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