New Applications For Unemployment Fell Last Week

Matty-Sways

The U.S. labor market showed signs of improvement with a drop in new unemployment applications of 55,000.

Weekly initial claims fell to a seasonally adjusted 787,000 in the week ended Oct. 17. The number of people collecting unemployment benefits through regular state programs fell by 1 million to about 8.4 for the week ended Oct. 10. The number of people receiving state benefits has declined in recent weeks to the lowest levels since late March as many employers recall workers and some add staff.

Companies ranging from American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. to Walt Disney Co. and AT&T Inc.’s Warner Media have announced job cuts in recent weeks, and those layoffs might have affected filed claims last week.

“The labor market recovery has stalled and might be beginning to reverse,” said Alfredo A. Romero, economist at North Carolina A&T State University.

“The economy has been allowed to open back up,” he said. “But the question remains if people will be willing to come back, to eat a restaurant or shop at a mall, especially now that the colder weather is coming and cases are rising.”

The labor market saw its summer rally end with it regaining (through September) more than half the 22 million jobs lost in March and April. While the number of posted jobs have increased from this spring, they remain 15.3% lower than a year earlier, as of Oct. 16, according to job search site Indeed.com.

Programs available to the self-employed, gig workers and others not typically eligible for unemployment aid, paid benefits to about 11 million workers in late September. In contrast 10.8 million received benefits from state programs in the same week (this program covers more than 140 million workers than the self-employed program).

A second pandemic program pays 13 additional weeks of benefits to individuals who have exhausted regular unemployment benefits. Enrollment in that program moved higher in recent weeks.

Jeremy Terlecki, 37 years old, has been receiving unemployment benefits since shortly after he was laid from an engineering job in the oil-and-gas industry in Bakersfield, Calif. “Everything seemed to be going well with the economy and my job, then it changed so fast,” he said. “Now jobs are difficult to find…I don’t think it’s going to be an immediate comeback.”

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