Unemployment Claims Climb As Pandemic Fears Grow

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Though data show US firms rehiring workers, there are also reports many are struggling to find people to take open jobs
Though data show US firms rehiring workers, there are also reports many are struggling to find people to take open jobs

Last week’s jobless claims were up from the previous week, despite a recovering economy and many employers desperately searching for workers.

According to a report from the Labor Department, initial unemployment filings totaled 419,000 for the week ending July 17, up from its revised 368,000 claims filed in the previous period. This is also well above Dow Jones estimates which placed jobless claims at 350,000 for the week, CNBC said.

“New seasonally adjusted unemployment claims posted a surprising increase of 51,000 moving back above the 400,000 level for the first time since mid-May,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, said in an email.

“So, a fresh pandemic low in new claims was not to be this week. As with the recent resurgence in COVID cases stemming from the Delta variant, the jump in jobless claims is a disappointment. Recovery is never a perfect straight line,” he added.

The announcement from the Labor Department marks the highest weekly initial jobless claims since May 15.

The biggest movers were Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania, which recorded the largest increases in initial unemployment claims for the week ending July 10. The largest decreases in claims went to Georgia, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico, respectively.

Also dropping were continuing claims, which declined by 126,000 to 3.24 million – a new low during the COVID pandemic, which saw more than 22 million Americans file for unemployment benefits in March 2020 as the government enforced lockdown orders for nonessential businesses.

The increase in jobless claims comes as a surprise amid growing concerns over the COVID-19 Delta variant as cases of the coronavirus surge all over the U.S. World Health Organization officials have said that they believe the world is entering another wave of the virus, which could lead to more infections and deaths.

But the economy is on a trajectory of recovery, and some are worried about a derailment due to a resurgence of the pandemic. However, jobs are plenty as companies are hiring in droves.

Job search site Indeed estimated that there were about 9.8 million open jobs as of July 16, as reported by CNBC. There were 9.48 million unemployed workers as of June as counted by the Labor Department, the news outlet said.




Photo: AFP / Frederic J. BROWN

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