NATIONAL NEWS

American Initial Jobless Claims Rocket Above 1 Million Again

Aug 20, 2020, 6:40 AM | Updated: 6:40 am
FILE...
FILE

Another 1.1 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits on a seasonally adjusted basis last week, dashing economists’ hopes for a second-straight week with fewer than 1 million claims.

Economists were optimistic that the US jobs market would be on a steady trajectory toward recovery. But last week’s claims returned above 1 million after the previous week’s report was the first below 1 million since March, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

Continued jobless claims, counting people who have filed claims for at least two weeks in a row, remain very high at 14.8 million.

After months of shocking economic data, these eyewatering big numbers might not seem as shocking anymore as they really are. But the road to recovery remains long and arduous.

The Federal Reserve said in its July meeting minutes Wednesday that any rebound of the jobs market depends on a reopening and businesses, which in turn depends on the path of the virus and what we do to contain it.

Meanwhile, those filing for benefits are no longer receiving the $600 weekly boost Washington put in place as part of the CARES Act, which expired at the end of July. Instead, benefits have dwindled to their regular amount, which is commonly less than workers made on their salaries.

Since Congress has been unable to agree a new stimulus deal so far, President Donald Trump signed an executive action to boost jobless benefits by $300 per week by diverting disaster relief money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

But it might take a while until this money makes its way to people’s wallets. States will have to create a new system to pay out the executive action benefits because the money comes from a different pot of money and is subject to different rules. And that could take weeks.

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American Initial Jobless Claims Rocket Above 1 Million Again