Baltimore Sun

US job­less claims hit 898K, most in 2 months

- By Christo­pher Rugaber Business · Unemployment · Infectious Diseases · Employment · Society · Health Conditions · Washington · United States Department of Labor · Nancy Pelosi · Steven Mnuchin · Morning Consult

WASH­ING­TON — The num­ber of Amer­i­cans seek­ing unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits rose last week by the most in two months, to 898,000, a his­tor­i­cally high num­ber and ev­i­dence that lay­offs re­main a hin­drance to the econ­omy’s re­cov­ery from the pan­demic re­ces­sion.

Thurs­day’s re­port from the La­bor Depart­ment co­in­cides with other re­cent data that have sig­naled a slow­down in hir­ing. The econ­omy is still roughly 10.7 mil­lion jobs short of re­cov­er­ing all the 22 mil­lion jobs that were lost when the pan­demic struck in early spring.

Con­firmed coro­n­avirus cases have been rising again na­tion­wide in the past month, likely caus­ing more Amer­i­cans to hold back from din­ing out, shop­ping and en­gag­ing in other com­merce.

Across the coun­try, ap­pli­ca­tions for unem­ploy­ment aid are rising while ne­go­ti­a­tions over a new stim­u­lus pack­age be­tween House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin re­main mired in a stale­mate.

The job search web­site In­deed said its job post­ings were un­changed last week, re­main­ing about 17% be­low last year’s lev­els. Many em­ploy­ers still aren’t con­fi­dent enough in their businesses or in their view of the econ­omy to ramp up hir­ing. Job post­ings had re­bounded steadily over the sum­mer, but the gains have slowed in the past two months.

A re­port Thurs­day from Moody’s An­a­lyt­ics, a fore­cast­ing firm, and Morn­ing Con­sult, a polling out­fit, found that mil­lions of peo­ple re­main de­pen­dent on gov­ern­ment aid. Roughly half of re­spon­dents in a sur­vey last month said they were still us­ing their $1,200 stim­u­lus checks, which the gov­ern­ment dis­trib­uted in April and May, to pay for ex­penses. About 15% said they were re­ly­ing on unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits.

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