Unemployment Benefits Rose Sharply Last Week


Layoffs remain at a high level nearly nine months into the coronavirus pandemic.

The Labor Department said weekly initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 137,000 to a seasonally adjusted 853,000 in the week ended Dec. 5. Just more than 20 million workers were receiving unemployment benefits in mid-November,

As the economic recovery continue and restrictions began to be lofted over the last few months jobless claims mostly trended down (this shows the economy is recovering, but at a slow pace).

“Job destruction has not come to an end,” Andy Challenger, senior vice president at firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. “We might be gaining jobs overall, but thousands of people are losing their jobs every week because demand has not returned.”

Mr. Challenger said recent layoffs have occurred in the entertainment industry, at restaurants, retailers, in the transportation sector, airlines and transit authorities.

“When someone is let go today, that means the company doesn’t see that job existing for a while,” he said.

The general consensus on the state of the US economy is that it is still recovering, but at a very slow pace. Consumer spending rose in October for the sixth straight month (at a slower pace). Also the manufacturing and services sectors expanded in November.

“We’re still seeing strong demand,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at professional staffing firm Robert Half International Inc. “But those with jobs are reluctant to leave.”

Total job loss this year was much higher than in the 2007-2009 recession, however the finance sector has been less affected.

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Economics, Finance and Investing