The pace of new applications for unemployment benefits in the United States slowed last week, but remained above 1 m, as businesses continue to struggle with the effects of coronavirus outbreaks in some parts of the country.
There was a 1.2 m initial requirement for unemployment, compared to 1.4 m for the previous week, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the Department of Labor. This was lower than the economists' forecast of 1.42 m.
Original requirements in the federal program for pandemic unemployment, which extended assistance to the self-employed or other persons who would not qualify for ordinary unemployment compensation, reduced last week to 655,707 from 908 800 on an unadjusted basis.
The number of Americans actively seeking government benefits fell to 1
California, Florida and Texas – the three most populous states – are among those to renew the curbs of businesses this summer in an effort to reverse an increase in Covid-19 infections. New cases and current hospitalizations have been on the way down in several states across the south and west, which gives hope that the sun belt has turned a corner in the fight against the virus.
However, health officials have warned that other states that had been spared early in the pandemic could face an accelerated increase in cases. Economists believe regional outbreaks could slow the US economic recovery after months of extensive closures.
It was the first time in three weeks that the initial requirements of government programs eased, having climbed in late July after falling regularly from the highs seen at the beginning of the pandemic. However, the share of unemployed claims remains historically high, having reached a peak of 669,000 during the 2008-09 financial crisis.
Lawyers in Washington have been locked in negotiations for a new stimulus package, with a possible extension of additional unemployment among the cases under debate. $ 600 per week in additional benefits expired at the end of July.
The latest figures for unemployment claims arrived a day before the US government's report on the labor market, which is expected to show that employment was reduced in July with employers an estimated 1.6 million non-farm wages. Economists also expect unemployment to fall to 10.5 per cent last month from 11.1 per cent.
Employment picked up in May and June when companies began nesting workers, after a record loss of 20.5 million jobs in April. The United States registered 2.5 million new jobs in May and 4.8 million in June.