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Maddow Blog | GOP pushes Trump on economic aid amid high unemployment filings

Maddow Blog | GOP pushes Trump on economic aid amid high unemployment filings

When it comes to weekly unemployment filings, our whole understanding of “normal” flew out the window six months ago. For example, as regular readers know, it was considered a catastrophe during the Great Recession when jobless claims topped 600,000.

But in 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic started taking a brutal toll on the U.S. economy, Americans confronted an entirely new set of standards — to the point that it seemed like relatively good news last month when initial jobless claims fell below 1 million for the first time since March.

Progress has nevertheless been hit or miss. The new report from the Labor Department this morning was a bit more upbeat than the data from two weeks ago.

In the week ending October 3, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 840,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 12,000 from 837,000 to 849,000. The 4-week moving average was 857,000, a decrease of 13,250 from the previous week’s revised average.

The modest improvement is welcome, though it comes alongside a disheartening observation: we’ve now had 29 consecutive weeks in which the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits was worse than at any time during the Great Recession.

All of which leads to a painfully obvious truth: the country still needs economic relief as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a brutal toll.

For reasons that don’t appear to make any sense, Donald Trump disagrees, announcing this week that he’s scrapping negotiations for a “Phase IV” economic aid package and telling voters to simply be satisfied with the status quo until after the election. As voters cast their ballots, the president personally accepted responsibility for ending talks to provide Americans with an economic lifeline.

Politico reported yesterday

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840,000 more workers filed for unemployment insurance last week

840,000 more workers filed for unemployment insurance last week

Another 840,000 Americans sought unemployment insurance last week, according to the latest report Thursday from the U.S. Department of Labor.



a person standing in front of a store: A woman checks her cell phone as she walks past a store closing sign in the Park Slope section of N.Y, Oct. 5, 2020.


© Erik Pendzich/REX via Shutterstock
A woman checks her cell phone as she walks past a store closing sign in the Park Slope section of N.Y, Oct. 5, 2020.

This week’s claims do not include the most up-to-date data from California, which has temporarily stopped accepting new jobless claims in order to work through a backlog and implement fraud prevention technology, the Labor Department said. Instead, the figure from California will reflect the level reported during the week prior to the pause in new applications.

MORE: Unemployment rate slips to 7.9% in last jobs report before election

Still, the initial claims data reflect a labor market still suffering some six months into the coronavirus pandemic. This is the 29th straight week of weekly unemployment claims coming in above the pre-pandemic record set in 1982.



a person standing in front of a store: A woman checks her cell phone as she walks past a store closing sign in the Park Slope section of N.Y, Oct. 5, 2020.


© Erik Pendzich/REX via Shutterstock
A woman checks her cell phone as she walks past a store closing sign in the Park Slope section of N.Y, Oct. 5, 2020.

While the number of new claims has fallen some since peaking in late March, they have stagnated at unprecedented levels not seen before the COVID-19 crisis. The average for the past four weeks was 857,000 new claims a week, according to the DOL.

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Moreover, the total number of people claiming unemployment benefits through all programs was 25.5 million as of the week ending Sept. 19, the DOL also said Thursday. That figure was 1.4 million for the comparable week in 2019.

The states that saw the largest increase in new jobless claims for the week ending Sept. 26 were Maryland, Illinois and New Jersey, according to Thursday’s report. Meanwhile, the states with the largest decreases

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GOP pushes Trump on economic aid amid high unemployment filings

GOP pushes Trump on economic aid amid high unemployment filings

When it comes to weekly unemployment filings, our whole understanding of “normal” flew out the window six months ago. For example, as regular readers know, it was considered a catastrophe during the Great Recession when jobless claims topped 600,000.

But in 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic started taking a brutal toll on the U.S. economy, Americans confronted an entirely new set of standards — to the point that it seemed like relatively good news last month when initial jobless claims fell below 1 million for the first time since March.

Progress has nevertheless been hit or miss. The new report from the Labor Department this morning was a bit more upbeat than the data from two weeks ago.

In the week ending October 3, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 840,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 12,000 from 837,000 to 849,000. The 4-week moving average was 857,000, a decrease of 13,250 from the previous week’s revised average.

The modest improvement is welcome, though it comes alongside a disheartening observation: we’ve now had 29 consecutive weeks in which the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits was worse than at any time during the Great Recession.

All of which leads to a painfully obvious truth: the country still needs an economic relief as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a brutal toll.

For reasons that don’t appear to make any sense, Donald Trump disagrees, announcing this week that he’s scrapping negotiations for a “Phase IV” economic aid package and telling voters to simply be satisfied with the status quo until after the election. As voters cast their ballots, the president personally accepted responsibility for ending talks to provide Americans with an economic lifeline.

Politico reported

Read the rest