by Thomas Catenacci
The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims increased to 419,000 last week as the economy continues its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics figure released Thursday represented a large increase in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending July 10, when 368,000 new jobless claims were reported. That number was revised up from the 360,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.
Surveyed economists expected Thursday’s jobless claims number to come in around 350,000, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“I would expect more jobs to be created in the months coming forward,” North Carolina State University economist Alejandro Gutierrez-Li told the WSJ.
Jobless claims have steadily dropped throughout April, May and June, hitting multiple pandemic lows. Roughly 12.6 million Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits nationwide, according to the report Thursday.
The U.S. economy added 850,000 jobs in June, far exceeding economists’ predictions, and more than 3 million jobs since January, government data showed.
While many Americans return to work, job vacancies continue to hit new record highs. There were more than 9.2 million job openings at the end of May, the Labor Department said.
Republicans have blamed the apparent U.S. labor shortage on the $300 weekly unemployment bonus given to out-of-work Americans. Democrats have argued that child care and lingering concerns about coronavirus are causing people to remain unemployed.
“I continued to see increases in the number of unemployed and, in some weeks, increases in the new regular claims that were coming in,” Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, who was among the first governors to cancel the federal bonus, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview last week. “So I felt we had to make a decision because if we wanted to experience a full economic recovery, we had to get our people back to work.”
President Joe Biden has focused on negotiating additional spending infrastructure and welfare bills. Democrats hope to soon pass a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package that would incorporate proposals from each piece of legislation.
“If we make a prudent, multi-year investments in better roads, bridges, transit systems, and high-speed Internet, and a modern, resilient electric grid, here’s what will happen: It breaks up the bottlenecks in our economy,” Biden said during remarks on Monday.
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