Well, we’re back with more not so great news about the economic recovery. Although somewhat eclipsed by today’s GDP report, weekly unemployment data still deserves a mention. 1.434 million Americans filed new claims during the week ending on July 25th, up from 1.42 million the week before. A Dow Jones poll of economists predicted 1.45 million filings.
As you can see, this is the second week in a row of rising unemployment, ending 15 straight weeks of decline. It also marks the 19th week in a row with over 1 million new unemployment claims. Continuing claims rose by 867,000. This pushed continuing unemployment numbers back above 17 million for the week ending on July 18th, up from 16.2 million during the week prior. (This data is delayed by one week behind new claims data). Continuing claims currently make up 11.6% of the workforce.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program logged 830,000 new claims, down from 936,000 the week before.
We learned today that second quarter GDP plummeted at a 32.9% annual rate, besting (worsting?) anything seen during the Great Depression. This was for the period from April to June, when lockdowns were in full swing. Consumer spending (among other indicators) have started picking back up as spring dragged on, though not nearly enough to offset April’s declines.
As part of the CARES Act, Congress added an additional $600 per week to unemployment benefits. These enhanced benefits are scheduled to end tomorrow. As of now, the Democrats are pushing to extend them, while the Republicans want to scale back to $200 per week. Right now, what unemployment will look like next week is anybody’s guess.