Jobless Claims Increase While Republicans Vote For “Skinny” Stimulus

Written by SK Ashby

Senate Republicans held a vote on their doomed "skinny" or $300 billion stimulus proposal that won't pass the Senate and won't become law.

Meanwhile, initial claims for unemployment increased last week as did the total number of Americans receiving unemployment as more temporary job losses become permanent.

Claims filed under regular state-based systems remained higher than expected and claims for extended benefits passed by Congress increased by almost 100,000.

The Labor Department on Thursday reported 884,000 first-time filings for unemployment insurance, compared with 850,000 expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones. The total was unchanged from the previous week. [...]

Claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program continued to climb, rising more than 90,000 last week to 838,916. The total of those claiming benefits through all programs, though Aug. 22, also rose to just over 29.6 million.

"Based on unemployment claims, expect drops in the unemployment rate this fall to be modest at best," said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union.

Persistently high claims for unemployment and increasingly permanent job losses do not appear to have changed the Republican party's political calculus on passing additional stimulus measures.

Senate Republicans held a failed vote on their small proposal today so they can cite it on the campaign trail, not because it would have adequately addressed anyone's needs.

Messages spread across social media by Republicans ahead of today's vote say they, not Democrats, at the ones coming together to pass more stimulus even though the GOP has moved much further away from their own proposals, pairing down an original bill from $1 trillion to $500 billion and now $300 billion. Republicans wasted the entire summer and then had to trim their own proposals just to bring fellow Republicans on board.

I don't think they're going to win over anyone who wasn't already planning to vote for Republicans in November regardless of what happens over the next month.

Logistically speaking, even if a small stimulus proposal miraculously passed through both chambers in the next week or two, it would take most states until nearly election day to implement it. Trump created his effectively-expired unemployment program on August 8th, for example, and most states still haven't paid out any claims from it over a month later. Some states won't issue checks until nearly the end of the month or nearly two months after the program was created.

It's too late at this point and all that's left is the message.