Well, it turns out that a lot of people are still unemployed. Weekly claims were released this morning, and they stayed pretty steady at 1.3 million. Continuing claims – a measure of total people receiving benefits, was 17.3 million. On top of that, there were 928,488 new claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
Claims have slowed each week, since peaking at 6.9 million in March. There were 10,000 fewer new claims for the week ending on July 11 (the most recent data) than the week before. Some of the new claims might actually be a backlog of old claims, after an initial rush overwhelmed the system. Still, the trend suggests the recovery could be losing momentum after an initial surge. I’m pretty sure that just about everybody has abandoned hope of a ‘V shaped’ turnaround by now.
As part of the CARES Act, unemployment benefits have come with an additional $600 per week. That is set to expire at the end of July, unless Congress decides to extend it.
The Covid-led recession has already dwarfed the Great Recession of 2008-2009 after four months. Over 51 million jobless claims have been filed since mid-March. In comparison, 37 million jobs were lost during the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Also worth noting is that weekly claims maxed out at 665,000 in 2009 – ten times lower than what we saw in the worst week of 2020.
Speaking of the coronavirus, total cases have reached 3.3 million in the United States. This thing will not leave us alone, and might force an economic retreat. Texas, California, and Florida are all seeing a rise in cases, and have taken steps to shut back down.