Well over a million people have filed new, initial claims for unemployment every week for the past 18 weeks, but something happened in the last week that should not be happening.
The number of people claiming unemployment increased for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic originally began with over 1.4 million new claims, up from 1.3 million the prior week.
If you include gig-economy workers covered by the soon-to-expire pandemic unemployment program, the number of people who filed new claims last week was over 2.4 million according to the Labor Department.
The Labor Department said Thursday initial jobless claims came in at 1.416 million for the week ending July 18. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected 1.3 million.
It was the 18th straight week in which initial claims totaled more than 1 million, and it snapped a 15-week streak of declining initial claims.
California saw the highest number of initial claims filed last week at 292,673, the Labor Department’s report showed. Florida and Georgia each reported more than 100,000 claims for last week as well.
There's not much reason to think next week's report will look much better and it may even be worse because the coronavirus isn't slowing down. The United States recorded another 70,000 infections in the past 24 hours and nearly 1,200 deaths. Florida recorded over 10,000 new cases again while Texas Governor Gregg Abbot is still obstructing local safety measures in the hard hit Rio Grande Valley.
There's not much reason to think any reports we see through the next couple months or even through the rest of the year will look much better. That will be especially true if congressional Republicans follow through on their plans to cut assistance and pass inadequate stimulus that doesn't meet the moment we're in because of the Trump regime's incompetence.
It seems clear to me that Republican lawmakers still do not appreciate what has happened and what's still coming. They're still debating if we should support the economy while the economy is actively falling off a cliff.