WASHINGTON (AP) – The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose to 770,000 last week, indicating that cuts remain high, even as much of the US economy recovers steadily from the coronavirus downturn.
The Department of Labor’s report on Thursday showed that unemployment claims rose from 725,000 last week. The numbers have plummeted since last spring’s downturn, but still show that employers in some industries continue to lose their jobs. Unemployment assistance applications never exceeded 700,000 in a week before the outbreak.
The four-week average of demand, which offsets weekly fluctuations, fell to 746,000, the lowest since late November.
A total of 4.1 million people continue to receive traditional state unemployment benefits, down 18,000 from the previous week. Including individual federal programs aimed at helping workers displaced by the health crisis, 18.2 million Americans received some form of unemployment benefit during the week of February 27, down 1.9 million from the previous week.
Ongoing reductions occur even when the overall labor market has shown significant improvement. Last month, U.S. employers added a staggering 379,000 jobs, the most since October, a sign that the economy is growing as consumers spend more and states and cities cut back on business.
No factor fully explains the still high level of weekly applications for state unemployment assistance. The figures were touched because of inconsistencies related to recycling և evidence of fraud at the state level. In addition, the expansion of additional federal unemployment benefits may have encouraged more unemployed Americans to seek help.
In addition, last month’s harsh winter weather raised unemployment in Texas. In California, there was an increase in applications due to layoffs in bars, restaurants, retail and other businesses, all of which were affected by the epidemic.
As vaccines accelerate, hopes are growing that Americans will be able to travel, shop, eat and spend more freely after a year of fighting the virus.
President Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion aid package is expected to help accelerate growth, especially as most adults receive $ 1,400 in stimulus tests this week, which should encourage more spending. The extension of $ 300 a week in unemployment benefits until early September will also support vaccines և treatment, school reopening, the state և local government և sick industry, from airlines to concert halls.
“Labor market tensions continue, but we expect that unemployment (for unemployment benefits) will begin to decline as restrictions are lifted and more normal operations begin,” said Rubeella Farouki in a research note. “As business returns to full potential, job աշխատանքի income prospects will improve, combined with fiscal support, to provide a strong boost to the economy.”
At the same time, the country is still 9.5 million less than it had in February 2020. And the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Chair Jerome Powell, suggested after the last political meeting of the Fed on Wednesday that the general economic forecasts remain cloudy.
“In two or three years, the state of the economy is very uncertain,” Powell told a news conference after the Fed announced it expected to keep its key interest rate at zero until 2023, despite some sustained economic gains. increase in pressure. ,
Business activity is still far from the norm in the field of services, which has been hit hard by the majority of barometers in the economy. The data company Womply said that, for example, 63% of cinemas, galleries and other entertainment venues were closed at the beginning of last week. This was the case with 39% of bars, 32% of gyms, 30% of other sports, leisure businesses, and restaurants.