U.S. weekly jobless claims come in at 837,000 vs. 850,000 estimated

Millions more Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, suggesting that the number of layoffs caused by the coronavirus pandemic remains very high even after the resumption of economic activity in the United States..

The US Labor Department said Thursday that weekly US jobless claims totaled 1.5 million last week. This slightly exceeded the 1.3 million economists’ consensus forecast, according to Bloomberg..

In just a few months, the total number of layoffs in the United States due to the coronavirus pandemic has exceeded approximately 37 million. Now, despite having declined consistently for 12 consecutive weeks, claims are still nearly double the 665,000 mark, the worst week in the Great Recession..

«Labor market continues sluggish recovery», – said Daniel Zhao, Senior Economist at Glassdoor. «While recent economic indicators, such as the May jobs report, were encouraging for a quick recovery earlier this month, the slow improvement in ongoing claims is dampening those high hopes.».

Continued claims, representing the total number of people receiving unemployment benefits, totaled 19.5 million for the week ending June 13, up from 20.5 million in the prior period.

The report comes amid other economic data showing early signs that a recovery may begin in the US. May retail sales skyrocket, shoppers seem to be returning the housing market, and business activity is recovering from the shock of the coronavirus pandemic. And the May employment report showed that companies recovered 2.5 million jobs.

US weekly jobless claims hit 1.5 million, beating economists' forecasts

However, it appears that some companies are hiring but others are cutting jobs at almost the same rate..

The rise in jobless claims remains alarming, suggesting that the labor market may not recover as quickly or as steadily as expected.

In another report, the US Department of Commerce said the trade deficit rose 5.1% in May to $ 74.3 billion. Exports fell 5.8% and imports fell 1.2%. With imports declining further, retailers and wholesalers continued to reduce their inventories.

The data confirms economists’ expectations that GDP could contract by up to 40% on an annualized basis in the second quarter. The Commerce Department confirmed Thursday that the country’s economy contracted 5% in January-March, the deepest recession in history since the Great Recession..

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