Jobless claims hit new pandemic low, while New York manufacturing notches record high

 


Initial claims for state jobless benefits were little changed last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

  • The weekly figure, before seasonal adjustments, was about 383,000, essentially flat. New claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federally funded program for jobless freelancers, gig workers, and others who do not ordinarily qualify for state benefits, totaled 96,000, down about 4,000 from the week before. The figures are not seasonally adjusted. (On a seasonally adjusted basis, state claims totaled 360,000, a decrease of 26,000 and the lowest figure since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.)

  • New state claims remain high by historical standards but are one-third the level recorded in early January. The benefit filings, something of a proxy for layoffs, have receded as businesses return to fuller operations, particularly in hard-hit industries like leisure and hospitality.

  • More than 20 states have recently discontinued some or all federal pandemic unemployment benefits — including a $300 supplement to other benefits — even though they are funded through September. Officials in those states said the payments were keeping people from seeking work. But judges in Maryland and Indiana have blocked the early cutoff, and legal challenges are pending in three other states.

  • A survey of 5,000 adults conducted June 22-25 by Morning Consult found that those whose unemployment benefits were about to expire felt more pressure to find work. But of all those on unemployment insurance, relatively few — 20 percent of those who had worked full time, and 28 percent of those who had worked part-time — said the benefits were better than their previous work income in meeting basic expenses.

  • The Labor Department’s employment report for June showed that the economy had 6.8 million fewer jobs than before the pandemic. A separate report found 9.2 million job openings at the end of May as businesses that had closed or cut back during the pandemic raced to hire employees to meet the reviving demand.

  • But there is a substantial amount of turnover, with far more workers quitting their jobs than are being laid off — a sign that many are jumping to positions that pay even slightly more.

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