Unemployment claims have now fallen below one million for the first time since the pandemic was announced in March:
CNBC – First-time claims for unemployment insurance last week fell below 1 million for the first time since March 21 in a sign that the labor market is continuing its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The total claims of 963,000 for the week ended Aug. 8 was well below the estimate of 1.1 million from economists surveyed by Dow Jones. That represented a decline of 228,000 from the previous week’s total.
Jobless claims had totaled above 1 million for 20 consecutive weeks as the U.S. economy went into lockdown to contain Covid-19. The last time the total was below that number was March 14, with 282,000, just as the pandemic declaration first hit.
Those already receiving unemployment benefits also fell:
Those collecting benefits for at least two weeks, known as continuing claims, totaled nearly 15.5 million, a decrease of 604,000 from a week ago but still well above pre-pandemic levels.
The total Americans receiving unemployment benefits fell sharply for the week ended July 25, down more than 3 million to 28.26 million, also pointing to a downward trend in joblessness. A year ago, that number was 1.7 million.
Those receiving benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program totaled 488,622, a decline of 167,377 from a week ago. The program provides compensation to those who normally wouldn’t be eligible for benefits such as independent contractors.
There is still a ways go to but it’s nice to see the country moving in the right direction. And consider that some states, like North Carolina, are still stuck in half-capacity phase 2 and aren’t fully open yet. As we go to phase 3 and higher, all of these numbers should get even better.