Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week

21 Janvier, 2021, 23:27 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • U.S. jobless claims decline to a still-high 900,000

Data on Thursday showed new claims for state unemployment benefits reached 900,000, showcasing the weakening U.S.jobs picture.

This is a decrease of 26,000 jobless claims compared to the previous week.

Prior to the pandemic, the record for weekly jobless claims was set at 695,000 during the Great Recession, and the current levels remain higher than in any pre-pandemic week since records were first kept in 1967.

But Washington's unemployment rate for December jumped to 7.1%, up from 5.7% the month before, the ESD reported Wednesday.

And though Congress finally passed a $900 billion package December 21 that extended benefits for the long-term unemployed into March, President Donald Trump didn't sign it until December 27 - missing a deadline to avert the "cliff", the news outlet reported.

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The Extended Benefits [EB], funded by federal and state sources, ended the same week with 14,788 initial claims filed. The new benefit, which runs through mid-March, may be encouraging more Americans to apply for aid. Restaurants, bars, hotels and casinos have either been forced to close or limit capacity.

The nation's unemployment rate stands at 6.7%, and almost 10 million fewer Americans have jobs now than at the beginning of 2020. That's mostly due to a decline in coronavirus pandemic-related programs at the end of the year.

Those payments have likely helped drive an increase in spending on debit and credit cards issued by Bank of America, economists at the bank wrote last week.

Even the smaller amount would boost GDP growth this year to 5.3 percent and in 2022 to 2.6 percent, he said, a "remarkable expected turnaround" aided also by negligible inflation and the Federal Reserve's maintenance of low borrowing rates.

Agency officials have said that claims data isn't available because recently extended federal benefits have changed how ESD calculates who is receiving benefits and how long it takes to pay some claimants. Biden's proposal will require congressional approval, and some congressional Republicans have already expressed reservations about its size.

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