Economy

Jobless Claims Resurge to Over 1 Million

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

New, initial claims for unemployment fell below 1 million for the first time since March in last week's report from the Labor Department but, perhaps not unexpectedly, new claims have climbed back above 1 million.

Economists polled by Reuters anticipated the claims would fall further, but they may not have expected Congress would leave Washington for a month without doing anything.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 1.106 million for the week ended Aug. 15, from an upwardly revised 971,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 925,000 applications in the latest week.

The previous week’s level had marked the first time since March that new claims had registered below 1 million. With the latest data, new weekly claims have been above the 1 million mark for 21 of the last 22 weeks.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the $600 per week pandemic unemployment program was supporting between 3 to 5 million jobs by itself through increased consumer spending. That program expired on August 1st and congressional Republicans have refused all attempts to renew it. The Senate GOP's latest stimulus proposal doesn't even include reduced benefits and it also doesn't include stimulus checks.

With up to 30 million unemployed Americans no longer receiving enhanced benefits, up to $18 billion in consumer spending has disappeared from the economy every single week.

You could be conservative or generous and say the number may not be that high because some people have returned to work or continued spending through debt, but even losing $10 billion per week in consumer spending is a self-inflicted wound.

Personally, if another round of stimulus checks went out, I would immediately spend it on food and clothing and those purchases would support someone's job. That's the way our economy actually works, but congressional Republicans have long lost sight of the real economy and only listen to the donor class made up of wealthy shareholders and landlords. The way they see it, Wall Street is doing fine so there's no need for more deficit spending that could justify higher taxes on shareholders next year.

Although I'm skeptical of the program's overall merit, the Paycheck Protection Program has also expired and that will likely contribute to any new jobless claims. Virtually everything Congress did to support the economy has expired and that was a deliberate choice made by the Trump White House and congressional Republicans.

  • muselet

    Taking spending power out of the economy during a downturn makes no sense.

    So of course the Rs will do it.

    It’s cheaper to prop up the economy for the time being than to allow it to crash and pick up the pieces later.

    So of course the Rs will let the economy collapse.

    If the Rs thought their guy had a reasonable chance of winning reelection, they wouldn’t be quite so eager to precipitate a full-on global economic depression.

    –alopecia

  • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

    I’m so pre-noyed (is that a word? “Pre-noyed: Annoyed in advance).

    If the orange bastard wins, we get four more years of his crap.

    If he loses, Biden is going to get saddled with blame for the inevitable shit-show that’s coming down the pipe. Everything Red Team fucked up is going to somehow be blamed on the left as if it suddenly spawned from a vacuum the second he was sworn in.

    And the smug assholes who caused all these problems (not just Trump, but his collaborators) are going to work tirelessly to deny Biden a single item on his agenda, bleating ceaseless about their suddenly rediscovered concern for the debt and deficit, while simultaneously insisting, that the only cure is austerity (and, no, pay no nevermind to the fact that they thought stimulus was a good idea when their guy was in office – now it’s anathema). GAAAAAaaaAAAAAAAAAA!!!1!!

    • katanahamon

      Yes..I too am freaked. The Orange Bastard has already said that “the only way I can lose this election is if it’s rigged.” So..there we are. Rump should be removed from office immediately given that he colluded with DeJoy to tank the USPS, along with, well, all his other crimes. He’s already cheated, cheating, in process of preparing to cheat some more. What f’ing universe are we living in where this lying, adulterous bastard gets away with murder, and we still pretend things are normal? Seen the articles criticizing Biden and Harris..how “they’re not exciting enough, giving (Latino, Black, Asian, Gay etc etc) enough “incentive” to vote for them, like we exist in a left wing vacuum bubble of morality while the other side just burns it all down…It’s sickening…it’s depressing..