CORONAVIRUS

‘Encouraging’ Unemployment Report Shows Utahns Slowly Getting Back To Work

May 21, 2020, 7:15 PM | Updated: Nov 9, 2022, 4:46 pm

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Stylists dawn masks at Metier Salon and Spa in Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – You don’t have to be an expert economist to predict that more businesses opening up will be good for the unemployment numbers. But, today, expert economists confirmed it.

Kevin Burt, Utah’s unemployment director said while there were new people filing for unemployment benefits in the past week, more Utahns said, ‘We don’t need unemployment anymore.’

Utah Department of Workforce Services

Continued-unemployment claims are down 5% and the number of people saying they need help keeps going down and down.

“This is six weeks in a row that we have seen a decrease in initial claims for unemployment benefits, which is an excellent trend,” he said.

In the midst of this good news, it’s important to remember many are still hurting, Burt said. In fact last week’s unemployment payout, while down, was still 834% higher than the normal weekly payout in 2019.

Mark Hamrick, the senior economic analyst for Bankrate, likened the unemployment trend to an earthquake and its aftershocks.

“We had the most significant shock occur previously, but we’re still having damaging aftershocks,” he said.

Hamrick says ending the economic “shaking” will rely heavily on you, the consumer, and when you choose to venture back out into the consumer world.

Customers wait outside a bagel store

“A majority of Americans are not willing to go out and resume the consumer activity that they were engaging with before,” he said, citing a Bankrate survey.

The thing keeping consumers home isn’t just a fear of getting sick. Many people don’t have money to spend.

4 out of 10 Americans say they have suffered some sort of financial harm due to the pandemic.

Hamrick said do not listen to anybody who tells you we’re going to bounce back quickly.

“We look at it broadly and we say there’s the question of safety,” Hamrick says, “Then there’s a question of the economic viability, and both of these weigh against a so-called V-shaped recovery that some people are saying will happen. But I think the case for that is a more precarious argument on a day by day basis.”

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‘Encouraging’ Unemployment Report Shows Utahns Slowly Getting Back To Work