Unemployment claims fall to 787,000, down 19,000

WASHINGTON: Number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits fell from 19,000 last week to still historically high 787,000 due to resurgence coronavirus grips the US economy.

While at the lowest level in four weeks, the new figures released Thursday by the Labor Ministry are nearly four times higher than last year at this point before the coronavirus hit. Employers continue to cut rising jobs coronavirus infections keep many people at home, and state and local governments are reimposing restrictions.

Unemployment claims were around 225,000 per week before the pandemic hit hard last March, pushing weekly jobless claims to a high of 6.9 million in late March, as efforts to contain the virus have plunged the economy into a deep recession.

The government said the total number of people receiving traditional unemployment benefits fell from 103,000 to 5.2 million for the week ending December 19, compared to the previous week.

The four-week average of claims that smoothes out weekly variations increased last week to 836,750, an increase of 17,750 from the previous week.

Economists believe that the holidays, in addition to great confusion over the status of a Covid-19 relief package, benefit claims suppressed last week.

Congress eventually passed a $ 900 billion relief bill that would increase benefit payments and expand two unemployment assistance programs linked to job losses due to the pandemic. However, President Donald Trump called the measure a disgrace because, in his opinion, it did not provide enough direct payments to individuals.

Trump ultimately signed the measure on Sunday, but sought to pressure Congress to increase the personal stimulus payments from $ 600 in the bill to $ 2,000. The Democratic-controlled House quickly passed legislation to meet Trump’s request, but the Republican-led Senate held back that momentum.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday the proposal to increase payments to $ 2,000 does not have a realistic path to quickly pass the Senate.

During this time, the government began to send smaller payments to millions of Americans. The $ 600 payment goes to individuals whose income does not exceed $ 75,000.

Analysts believe the $ 900 billion package in its current form will give the economy a boost, but only as long as there are no major issues with it. COVID-19[female[feminine vaccinations.

Earlier this month, Trump administration officials said they plan to distribute 20 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year. But according to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control, just over 11.4 million doses have been distributed and only 2.1 million people received their first dose.

President Donald Trump deflected criticism on the pace of the vaccination program, saying it is up to states to distribute the vaccines.

Most economists believe the US economy will rebound at some point next year.

While the outlook for the economy later in 2021 is optimistic, the economy and labor market will need to navigate difficult terrain by then and we expect (jobless) demands to remain high, a said Nancy Vanden Houten, chief US economist at Oxford Economics.

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