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Jobless Claims Increase To 373,000, Above Economists’ Predictions

Thomas Catenacci

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims increased to 373,000 last week as the economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics figure released Thursday represented a slight increase in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending June 26, when 371,000 new jobless claims were reported. That number was revised up from the 364,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.

Economists expected Thursday’s jobless claims number to come in around 350,000, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“Employment is still on a strong upward trajectory,” Oxford Economics chief U.S. economist Gregory Daco told the WSJ. “Demand for labor is very strong.”

Daco added that the factors causing elevated unemployment in recent months have eased up, according to the WSJ. Generous unemployment benefits have been removed in many states, child care services are more readily available and workers fear contracting coronavirus less now than at any point during the pandemic.

Jobless claims have steadily dropped throughout April, May and June, hitting multiple pandemic lows. Roughly 14.2 million Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits nationwide, according to the report.

President Joe Biden, meanwhile, continues to push his infrastructure and jobs plan, which the White House estimates will create millions of jobs. The president agreed to a compromise $1.2 trillion infrastructure package with a group of bipartisan senators last month.

“We need to invest not just in the physical and human infrastructure of today, we need to invest in the jobs and industries of tomorrow,” Biden said during his remarks in Illinois on Wednesday.

“We need to lay the foundation for the next generation of American jobs and American leadership in manufacturing and technology,” he continued.

The U.S. economy added 850,000 jobs in June, 559,000 jobs in May and just 266,000 in April, according to government data. The slow job growth caused Republican-led states to begin withdrawing from the federal $300 weekly unemployment bonus implemented by Democrats’ $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

More than half of all states have announced their early withdrawal from the program, according to CNET. Colorado and Connecticut will continue to offer the $300 weekly bonus, but will offer a cash incentive for unemployed residents who find a job.

Job vacancies hit a record high, reaching 9.2 million at the end of May, according to a Labor Department report released Wednesday. The leisure and hospitality industry accounted for about 2.7 million of the openings.

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