Rise in US jobless threatens swift recovery
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.