Jobless Claims Show Little Sign That Layoffs Are Easing
New claims for state unemployment remain stubbornly high as labor market conflicts accelerate after winter increases in cases of coronovirus.
Total 862,000 workers Filed initial claims The Labor Department said on Thursday that the state’s total for unemployment benefits is equal to the previous week’s revised number. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the total was 861,000, an increase of 13,000.
After initial claims of recent higher hits from late December to mid-January, economists expected a steady decline. According to the latest evidence in the latest report, the pace of economic recovery has stopped.
“We are going in the wrong direction,” said Dion Swonk, chief economist at accounting firm Grant Thornton. “It’s hard to get away from the fact that week after week we expect better and it’s like a sucker punch.”
Of particular concern were the increase in claims for epidemic aid, an emergency federal program for freelancers, part-time workers and others ineligible for the state’s unemployed benefits in general. About 516,000 claims were filed under the program, a jump of 174,000 from the previous week.
Claims in Ohio have increased due to processing delays after the program was extended to federal relief law in December.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said on February 8 that there was a “weekend system upgrade” Made the program available to more than 130,000 Ohioans “Those who have been waiting to receive these benefits since December” and allowed new applications.
Tom Betty, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, said the rapid growth could also be one Result of fraud. “The growth we are in is a strong indicator that criminals are targeting not only the PUA but also the traditional unemployment program,” he said in an email.
Ohio details aside, the latest figures offered little cause for optimism.
“This is a bad report,” said Gregory Dako, chief US economist at Oxford Economics. “This is not a horrifying report, but either way, even if you adjust for some of the weekly volatility, is it a good report.”
Work on the $ 1.9 trillion relief package proposed by Congress President Biden as a weak number continued. The House can vote on the legislation before the end of the month.
Adding to the urgency is the cessation of supplemental unemployment benefits in mid-March, which could be another round of uncertainty for millions of people who are still unemployed. The Biden proposal will extend them through September.
Economists say the economic crisis may have reached a peak, even if the epidemic continues to make a recovery. Permanent damage to the labor market is uncertain, but may become evident in the coming months.
The unemployment claim “has been at a really high level for a long time,” Ms Swonk said. “What’s going to happen going forward. Are they falling on time at some point or are there some long term issues?”
Despite challenges in the job market, there have been some positive signs for the economy in recent times. Retail sales grew 5.3 percent In January, a larger gain than expected, although they were most likely driven by the latest round of stimulus and may dip again in February.
Actually, said Elizabeth Konkel, an economist for the career site Retail job posting actually increased by 2.6 percent From February 2020. Job posting on the site is 3.9 percent.
“We are making progress, but there is definitely still a way to go,” Ms Konkal said. “What needs to happen, all those people need to be up and up for some time to get back into the labor market.”
But the economy is still hollow. Labor Department Employment Report for January Showed a gain of just 49,000 jobs. Of the 22 million jobs that disappeared early in the epidemic, about 10 million have been lost. And the leisure and hospitality industries remain severely depressed.