Jobless claims in the U.S. fell to 793,000 last week, higher than the Dow Jones estimate of 760,000. It's a sign that job cuts remain high, new statistics from the Department of Labor reveal. About 20.4 million Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits.
The Associated Press explains why this doesn't exactly merit celebration, considering COVID-19 infections continue to decline.
Last week’s total declined from 812,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. That figure was revised higher from the previously-reported figure of 779,000. Before the virus erupted in the United States in March, weekly applications for jobless aid had never topped 700,000, even during the Great Recession.
The job market’s improvement slowed through the fall and in the past two months has essentially stalled. Over the past two months combined, employers have cut 178,000 jobs. Nearly 10 million jobs remain lost to the pandemic.
?? total US workers on #unemployment rose from 17.8 million to more than 20 million, per Labor Dept’s weekly jobless claims report. Driven by PUA spike.— Jo Ling Kent (@jolingkent) February 11, 2021
Weekly jobless claims are 793K (dropping 19K) but the previous week’s number was revised up, to 812K. The flatline continues. pic.twitter.com/iC2j3HaOKy
The slight improvement in jobless claims could also be jeopardized by President Biden's attempt to enforce his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, which in part doubles the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15, Job Creators Network argues.
“New Covid-19 cases fell by 25 percent last week, giving hope to small business owners that are ready and eager to reopen,” said Alfredo Ortiz, President and CEO of the Job Creators Network, in a statement. “If we play our cards right, America’s economy could be poised for a boom in the second half of 2021, once the vast majority of Americans are vaccinated and pent-up consumer demand acts as economic rocket fuel. The problem, of course, is President Biden and the Democrats in Congress are pushing a radical, left-wing agenda that could crater our economy before it can take off. Their proposal to double the federal minimum wage is the best example, with the Congressional Budget Office estimating it could eliminate up to 2.7 million jobs. But President Biden is also promising record tax hikes, shutting down energy production, and more government interference in healthcare – all of which will greatly raise business costs and eliminate jobs."
You can read more of the CBO's unfortunate predictions here.
CBO just released its new $15 min wage analysis—adds $58B to the deficit, kills 1.4M jobs. Have to look at how they reach these numbers, but it's a bad blow for the Raise the Wage Act. Progressive economists likely screaming into their laptops right now.https://t.co/x5X5GUzIay— Jordan Weissmann ?? (@JHWeissmann) February 8, 2021
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell the economy is still a "long way" from where it needs to be.