Unemployment claims dip but remain higher than pre-pandemic levels

While new unemployment claims dropped again from the prior week, data show the economy has not yet recovered from the pandemic  as the COVID-19 delta variant raises new questions about more restrictions.

The U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday that 358,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits in the last week of July, a drop of 14,000 from the previous week. 

“The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 24 was 2,930,000, a decrease of 366,000 from the previous week’s revised level,” the report says. “This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since March 14, 2020 when it was 1,770,000.”

Those numbers, though, remain well above pre-pandemic unemployment levels.

Ongoing benefit claims dropped significantly since the heart of the pandemic but still totaled nearly 13 million.

“The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending July 17 was 12,975,015, a decrease of 181,251 from the previous week,” the Department of Labor said. “There were 31,987,359 weekly claims filed for benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2020.”

The unemployment numbers come just one day before the anticipated monthly jobs report is to be released Friday. Ahead of that report, ADP, a major payroll company that releases monthly jobs data, issued a report showing July fell short of predictions.

The report says the private sector added 330,000 jobs in July, well below the 653,000 estimated by Dow Jones. That also is a significant decrease from June, when the private sector added 680,000 jobs.

“Bottlenecks in hiring continue to hold back stronger gains, particularly in light of new COVID-19 concerns tied to viral variants,” Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP, said. “These barriers should ebb in coming months, with stronger monthly gains ahead as a result.”

The DOL numbers show unemployment figures vary widely across states.

“The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending July 17 were in California (5.2), Puerto Rico (5.1), Nevada (4.1), Rhode Island (4.0), Illinois (3.7), New Jersey (3.7), Connecticut (3.3), New York (3.3), District of Columbia (3.1), and Pennsylvania (3.0),” the report says. “The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending July 24 were in California (+8,010), Tennessee (+1,694), Michigan (+449), New Jersey (+420), and Florida (+140), while the largest decreases were in Pennsylvania (-21,218), Texas (-11,154), Kentucky (-7,185), Illinois (-7,060), and Missouri (-5,351)”.

This article was originally posted on Unemployment claims dip but remain higher than pre-pandemic levels

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *