Claims for unemployment benefits fall to 787,000, down 19,000

WASHINGTON: The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week by 19,000 to 787,000 still historically as a resurgent coronavirus dominates the US economy.

Although at its lowest level in four weeks, new figures released by the Department of Labor on Thursday are nearly four times higher than last year at this time before coronavirus hit. Employers continue to reduce jobs coronavirus infections keep many people at home, and state and local governments impose restrictions.

Unemployment claims were hovering around 225,000 a week before the pandemic hit hard in March last year, causing a weekly rise in jobless claims to 6.9 million at the end of March, while reduction efforts of the virus have brought the economy into a deep recession.

The government said the total number of people receiving traditional unemployment benefits had dropped by 103,000 to 5.2 million in the week ending December 19 from the previous week.

The four-week average for weekly smoothing damages rose to 836,750 last week, up 17,750 from the previous week.

Economists believe that the holidays, in addition to widespread confusion about the status of one Covid-19 aid package, suppressed claims for benefits last week.

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

Trump finally signed the measure on Sunday, but tried to pressure Congress to increase incentive payments to individuals from $ 600 on the bill to $ 2,000. The Democrat-controlled house quickly passed legislation to meet Trump’s request, but the Republican-led Senate checked that momentum.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that the proposal to increase payments to $ 2,000 does not have a realistic way to get through the Senate quickly.

Meanwhile, the government has begun sending lower payments to millions of Americans. $ 600 is paid to people with incomes up to $ 75,000.

Analysts believe that the $ 900 billion package, as it stands now, will boost the economy, but only as long as there are no major problems with implementation. COVID-19 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 were distributed and only 2.1 million people received their first dose.

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

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

While the outlook for the economy later in 2021 is optimistic, the economy and the labor market will have to navigate difficult terrain between now and then and expect (jobless) demands to remain high, said economist Nancy Vanden Houten American at Oxford Economics.

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