• By The Financial District

1.2-M AMERICANS SEEK JOBLESS AID AFTER $600 WEEKLY PAY ENDS

Nearly 1.2 million laid-off Americans applied for state unemployment benefits last week, evidence that the coronavirus keeps forcing companies to slash jobs just as a critical $600 weekly federal jobless payment has expired, Paul Wiseman reported for the Associated Press (AP) late on August 6, 2020. 

The government’s report Thursday did offer a smidgen of hopeful news: The number of jobless claims declined by 249,000 from the previous week, after rising for two straight weeks, and it was the lowest total since mid-March.


Still, claims remain at alarmingly high levels: It is the 20th straight week that at least 1 million people have sought jobless aid. Before the pandemic hit hard in March, the number of Americans seeking unemployment checks had never surpassed 700,000 in a week, not even during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. 


Rubeela Farooqi, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics, called the drop in weekly claims “a move in the right direction.″ But in a research note, she added: “Repeated shutdowns for virus containment remain a threat to the labor market, which is already weak. The possibility of mounting layoffs that could become permanent is high. Without effective virus containment, the recovery remains at risk from ongoing job losses that could further restrain incomes and spending.″