US unemployment during Covid-19 pandemic approaches 55 MILLION

The number of new unemployment insurance claims in the United States is expected to have improved marginally last week, with initial jobless claims for the week ended August 1 expected at 1.4 million.

That’s down from the 1.434 million who applied during the previous week, and would represent the 20th straight week that new claims topped a million. Continuing claims (for the week ending July 25) could be down from last week’s 17.018 million to 16.9 million.

New jobless claims in last week’s report rose for a second straight week, after what had been 15 consecutive weeks of declines previously. Statistics showed that more than 54 million people filed new unemployment insurance claims since the week ending March 20.

“Initial claims have remained stubbornly high, and the number of individuals receiving unemployment insurance has barely declined from its peak,” said Credit Suisse Chief Economist James Sweeney, as cited by Yahoo Finance.

Continuing unemployment insurance claims, which represent the number of individuals still receiving benefits, are expected to have fallen to just under 17 million during the week ending July 25. They peaked at nearly 25 million in mid-May, and remain at more than double the pre-pandemic peak of 6.6 million that was reached in mid-2009.

The latest report for new weekly unemployment insurance claims covers the final week in which Americans were eligible for enhanced federal unemployment benefits as part of Congress’s original Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in March. The weekly $600 benefit, which was part of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, expired at the end of July.

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