Rise in US job­less threat­ens swift re­cov­ery

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Russell Lynch

THE num­ber of US work­ers los­ing their jobs has risen for the first time since March as hopes of a swift re­cov­ery dwin­dle in the face of surg­ing coron­avirus cases.

There were 1.42m ini­tial claims for ben­e­fits last week, up 109,000 from a week ear­lier and seven times more than a year ago. A raft of states, in­clud­ing Cal­i­for­nia, have been forced to reim­pose re­stric­tions on daily life fol­low­ing a resur­gence of the virus, which has now claimed more than 146,000 lives in the US. The bru­tal jobs num­bers fol­low a change in tone this week from pres­i­dent Trump – who is fac­ing re-elec­tion in Novem­ber and trail­ing in the polls – as he said the pan­demic would “get worse be­fore it gets bet­ter”.

The pres­i­dent urged Amer­i­cans to wear masks. US com­pa­nies added 4.8m jobs in June in what had been hailed as a re­mark­able turn­around since the cri­sis struck, but the num­ber of un­em­ployed peo­ple is still 12m above pre-pan­demic lev­els and the job­less rate has surged to 11.1pc.

Ox­ford Eco­nom­ics econ­o­mist Nancy Van­den Houten said the US jobs mar­ket is in a pre­car­i­ous state.

She said: “Job losses in the July em­ploy­ment re­port are pos­si­ble.”

In to­tal 31.8m Amer­i­cans on ben­e­fits – al­most one in 10 of the en­tire pop­u­la­tion – have seen their in­comes topped up by $600 a week to cush­ion the jobs shock.

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