Jobless Claims Rose For The 2nd Straight Week to 778,000


Claims haven’t risen for two consecutive weeks since July and this is a sign that Covid-19 is affecting businesses.

Worker filings for unemployment insurance are down dramatically from March but are still at record highs (the pre-pandemic peak was 695,000 in 1982, records date back to 1967). The four-week moving average increased by 5,000 to 748,500, the Labor Department said Wednesday.

Some of the states with increases in virus cases, including Minnesota, Ohio and Illinois, saw a large rise in claims last week.

Orders of durable, or long-lasting goods, rose 1.3% in October. The Commerce Department said its reading of GDP growth in the third quarter was at a 33.1% annual rate, or 7.4% over the prior quarter, while U.S. company earnings picked up strongly.

“Covid is driving the bus on the economy, and we’re going to have some hairpin turns until we get to the nice, straight open road of the postvaccine world,” said Constance Hunter, chief economist at KPMG LLP.

Growth in retail sales and employment has slowed down in recent months. The unemployment rate, at 6.9%, is down from April’s post-World War II high of 14.7%. Small-business shutdowns and layoffs have increased in recent weeks. People collecting unemployment benefits through regular state programs fell to 6.1 million for the week ended Nov. 14 from 6.4 million a week earlier, on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Labor Department.

Both the extended-benefits program and a program that provides benefits to those not typically eligible for jobless aid (independent contractors and self-employed individuals) will expire at the end of this year.

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Economics, Finance and Investing