The number of new applications for unemployment insurance surged last week to 853,000, a jump of more than 100,000 from the previous week, amid record-high coronavirus cases that are slowing economic growth.
In the week ending December 5, initial weekly jobless claims rose by 137,000 from a revised total of 716,000 applications. The non-seasonally adjusted number of claims totaled 947,504 last week, rising by 228,982, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department. Another 427,609 people applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a program created to expand jobless benefits to contractors, gig workers and others who do not typically qualify for traditional unemployment insurance. More than 19 million Americans were on some form of jobless aid as of November 21, according to the Labor Department.
President Trump on Wednesday threatened to take executive action to extend an eviction moratorium, suspend collection of the payroll tax and boost unemployment benefits unless a coronavirus relief deal can be reached quickly with Democrats on Capitol Hill.
And in a sign the White House could be preparing to act, the Trump administration has asked federal agencies to identify all of the money they have not yet spent from the $2 trillion Cares Act, which passed in March, according to two people briefed on the effort. White House officials are trying to determine whether this money could be redirected and used for other purposes, such as temporary unemployment benefits or the eviction moratorium.
The president has been floating the possibility of acting unilaterally for several days, but he detailed his specific plans for the first time Wednesday at the beginning of a coronavirus news conference at the White House. It came as negotiations continued between top Trump administration officials and congressional Democrats, but agreement remained elusive.
The number of Americans who filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week totaled 1.434 million, the Labor Department reported Thursday, roughly in line with expectations, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the U.S. economy. It was the 19th straight week in which initial claims totaled at least 1 million and the second consecutive week in which initial claims rose after declining for 15 straight weeks.
Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected claims to rise to 1.45 million for the week ending July 25.
In a separate report, the government said second-quarter gross domestic product plunged a historic 32.9% on an annualized basis. Although it wasn’t as bad as the expected 34.7% decline, it was the worst drop ever, with the closest previously coming in mid-1921.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy shrank at a dizzying 32.9% annual rate in the April-June quarter — by far the worst quarterly plunge ever — when the viral outbreak shut down businesses, throwing tens of millions out of work and sending unemployment surging to 14.7%, the government said Thursday.
The Commerce Department’s estimate of the second-quarter decline in the gross domestic product, the total output of goods and services, marked the sharpest such drop on records dating to 1947. The previous worst quarterly contraction, a 10% drop, occurred in 1958 during the Eisenhower administration.
Initial jobless claims for regular state programs totaled 1.54 million in the week ended June 6, down from 1.9 million in the prior week, Labor Department figures showed Thursday. Applications for unemployment insurance have fallen consistently each week since peaking at the end of March, but the volume of weekly filings is still more than double the worst week during the Great Recession.