Another 1.3 million people have filed for first-time unemployment this week, according to the US Department of Labor. These filings come nearly four months after the coronavirus pandemic began. While that number is 10,000 less when compared to the prior weeks data, the fact that millions of Americans are filing for unemployment continuously in the middle of a global health crisis is staggering.
Rubella Farooqi is the chief US economist for High Frequency Economics, and recently spoke with the media about the high risk of permanent job losses that will extend beyond the pandemic.
“Overall, filings remain high and are declining at a stubbornly slow pace. The pace could slow even further or reverse in coming weeks in response to a surge in virus cases and related closures of businesses.”
Continued claims, or unemployment claims from workers who have filed for at least two weeks in a row, has remained at around 17 million each week. On an unadjusted claim basis, the claims rose by more than 838,000 within the last week alone. This was the first major increase in both unadjusted initial and continued claims for unemployment in several weeks.
This consistent rise in claims is further proving that Covid-19 recovery in terms of health and the economy is stalling and continuing to dwindle. The reports have made it clear that every state that’s decided to prematurely reopen is now seeing massive spikes in cases and deaths. For example, Florida is now being referred to as the new epicenter for Covid-19 because of how poorly health and safety procedures are being enforced. Beyond the catastrophic health implications that this increase in case numbers implies, the economic toll it’s having on citizens is just as severe.
Glassdoor Senior Economist Daniel Zhao recently spoke with the media about the unemployment benefits in this country and the lack of effort from Congress to extend the packages and increase the financial compensation, despite being in one of the worst health/economic conditions America has ever seen.
“The risk of a surprise drop in employment in July is rising, pointing to a roller coaster recovery as the labor market starts to turn down again.”
Almost 14.3 million Americans have claimed continued pandemic benefits across 48 states during the month of June; nearly 406,000 a week. That number of first-time filers for pandemic unemployment assistance has increased to almost 1 million this past week alone.
The pandemic program specifically provides temporary benefits to workers who typically aren’t eligible for unemployment. This includes freelancers, independent contractors, the self-employed, and patients who are currently suffering from Covid-19.
Each state in America has collectively delivered more than $35 billion in benefits to its residents last month; for comparison, they only shelled out about $4 billion in March before the virus became a major issue. The reality is, however, more states are likely to look to the federal government for loans within the coming months, as a majority of them have already spent their budgets trying to assist their unemployed residents.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.