NATIONAL NEWS

US Layoffs Remain Elevated As 840,000 Seek Jobless Aid

Oct 8, 2020, 7:41 AM
FILE...
FILE

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell slightly last week to a still-high 840,000, evidence that job cuts remain elevated seven months into the pandemic recession.

The latest sign of a flagging recovery comes two days after President Donald Trump cut off talks over a new rescue aid package that economists say is urgently needed for millions of unemployed Americans and struggling businesses. A failure to enact another round of government aid would crimp household income and spending, and some economists say it would raise the risk of a double-dip recession.

Thursday’s report from the Labor Department said the number of people who are continuing to receive unemployment benefits dropped 1 million to 11 million. The decline suggests that many of the unemployed are being recalled to their old jobs. But it also reflects the fact that some have used up the 26 weeks of their regular state benefits and have transitioned to extended benefit programs that last an additional three months.

In addition, the government said 464,000 people applied for jobless aid last week under a separate program that has made the self-employed, contractors and gig workers eligible for unemployment benefits for the first time. That was about 45,000 lower than in the previous week. These figures aren’t adjusted for seasonal trends, so the government reports them separately from the traditional jobless claims.

About 11.4 million people are receiving aid under that program, known as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. All told, 25.5 million people were receiving some form of unemployment aid in the week that ended Sept. 19, the latest period for which data is available. Yet many economists say they are dubious about the PUA data, which has likely been inflated by miscounts and outright fraud.

The weekly count of Americans applying for traditional unemployment benefits has also become less reliable as some states have increased their efforts to root out fraudulent claims and process earlier applications that have piled up.

California, for example, which accounts for more than one-quarter of the nation’s unemployment applications, last week simply provided the same figure it had supplied two weeks ago. That was because the state has stopped accepting jobless claims online for two weeks so it can implement anti-fraud technology and catch up with a backlog of 600,000 applications.

Across the country, hiring has slowed just as federal rescue aid has run out, hampering an economy still climbing out of the deep hole created by the pandemic. Employers added just 661,000 jobs in September, less than half of August’s gain and the third straight monthly decline.

Just over half the 22 million jobs lost to the coronavirus have been recovered, leaving the economy with 10.7 million fewer jobs than in February — a figure that exceeds all the job losses from the 2008-2009 Great Recession.

The $2 trillion financial aid package that Congress enacted in the spring provided enough support to more than fully offset the household income that was lost from the flood of layoffs in the April-June quarter. Household incomes actually rose in that quarter because of the $600-a-week federal jobless benefit and $1,200 checks that the government sent to most adults.

That extra money enabled spending at retailers to regain pre-pandemic levels. An analysis by Opportunity Insights, a research group, has found that spending has rebounded faster in lower-income neighborhoods than in wealthier ones because of the benefit of stimulus payments.

Yet economists have warned that without further aid, families across the country will struggle in coming months to pay bills, make rent, afford food and avoid eviction. According to a Census Bureau survey released Wednesday, one-third of adults are struggling to pay for their usual expenses, including rent, food, car payments and utilities.

Oxford Economics projects that without further federal aid, the economy will eke out just a 1% annual growth rate in the current quarter, down sharply from its previous forecast of 4%.

On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell made clear his belief that unless the government supplied additional support, the recovery was at risk of derailing.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Plane collision at Dallas Air Show...
JAMIE STENGLE and JAKE BLEIBERG Associated Press

Report: No altitude advice before Dallas air show crash

A preliminary report from federal officials on a deadly midair collision at a Dallas air show says no guidance was given on altitudes before a World War II-era fighter plane crashed into a bomber.
1 day ago
emergency lights...
KEN RITTER Associated Press

Ex-con gets at least 18 years in dismembered body case in Vegas

An ex-convict who led police on a chase around Las Vegas before officers found the severed head and dismembered body of his friend in a stolen vehicle he was driving was sentenced Thursday to at least 18 years in prison.
1 day ago
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 11: Election workers open mail in ballots at the Maricopa County Tabula...
JONATHAN J. COOPER Associated Press

Arizona county certifies election after judge’s order

A rural Arizona county certified its midterm election results on Thursday, following the orders of a judge who ruled that Republican supervisors broke the law when they refused to sign off on the vote count by this week's deadline.
1 day ago
Lindsay Lohan thinks you should try Pilk.
(Pepsi)...
Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN Business

Pepsi wants you to drink soda mixed with milk this holiday season

Pepsi launched a campaign Thursday encouraging customers to try the combination of milk and pepsi for a holiday concoction.
1 day ago
People at vigil for four students killed in Idaho...
REBECCA BOONE, Associated Press

Victims’ families urge love, kindness as Idaho campus mourns

As hundreds of students mourned together inside the University of Idaho’s stadium Wednesday night, family members of four slain classmates urged them to raise their eyes from grief and focus on love and the future.
1 day ago
Mauna Loa spewing lava on Tuesday. (Courtesy: Paradise Helicopters via )...
Holly Yan and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Lava spilling toward key Hawaiian highway, but the gov says it’s safe to visit the Big Island

The world's largest active volcano is shooting fountains of lava more than 100 feet high and sending a river of molten rock down toward the main highway of Hawaii's Big Island.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
US Layoffs Remain Elevated As 840,000 Seek Jobless Aid