At any other time, hiring at that level would be seen as a blowout gain. But after employers shed a staggering 22 million jobs in March and April, much larger increases are needed to heal the job market. The hiring of the past three months has recovered only 42% of the jobs lost to the pandemic-induced recession, according to the Labor Department’s jobs report released Friday.
And now, with much of the nation having paused or reversed plans to restore economic activity, many employers are still reluctant or unable to hire and consumers remain generally hesitant to shop, travel, or eat out. Until the health crisis is solved through a vaccine or an effective treatment, most experts say the economy will struggle to sustain any recovery.
Though the unemployment rate fell last month from 11.1% to 10.2%, that level still exceeds the highest rate during the 2008-2009 Great Recession.
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 Trump administration is looking at options for unilateral actions it can take to try to address some of the economic fallout caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic if no relief deal is reached with Congress, according to two people with knowledge of the deliberations.
The discussions are a reflection of officials’ increasingly pessimistic outlook for the talks on Capitol Hill. The White House remains in close contact with Democratic leaders, but a wide gulf remains and deadlines have already been missed.
It’s not clear what steps the administration could take without the help of Congress on issues such as lapsed enhanced unemployment benefits or the expired moratorium on evictions — the two matters President Trump has recently identified as his highest priorities in the ongoing talks. Both of those programs were authorized by Congress earlier this year but were designed to be temporary.
The 35-year-old pizza chain filed for Chapter 11 Thursday, explaining that the process will help it “reduce its long-term debt load, and quickly emerge from bankruptcy as a much stronger company.” It warned that it will close unprofitable locations, but didn’t say how many of its 200 global restaurants will be affected.
“The unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on our operations certainly created additional challenges, but this agreement from our lenders demonstrates their commitment to CPK’s viability as an ongoing business,” CEO Jim Hyatt said in a release.
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.