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U.S. Jobless Claims Rise After Hitting Pandemic Low

U.S. jobless claims have risen last week, only a week after claims hit another pandemic low. The Labor Department stated in a new report that last week the number of Americans filing jobless claims — applying for unemployment benefits — has risen to 412,000, up by 37,000 claims from the week before. These latest numbers come as something of a shock to economists, as there are many signs and evidence that the economy is speeding ahead, rebounding, and moving on from the recession the COVID-19 pandemic brought on.

However, this rise in jobless claims isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. While it’s not completely positive, it isn’t a reason to worry just yet, according to economists. For most analysts, this is yet another sign that the United States isn’t yet back to “normal”. However, we’re also not back in the state that the economy was in back when the pandemic first started. 

While 412,000 jobless claims were filed last week, this is a relatively low number when compared to the 1.5 million people who filed claims in one week about a year ago. The economy has progressed, and fewer people are being laid off as a result. So, while we’re not back to those pre-pandemic levels, we’re also not back to the high rates of unemployment we were in last year. 

However, these weekly jobless claims are still high compared to what the country’s “normal” weekly claims used to be in a stable economy. Back in March 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic affected the economy, weekly jobless claims were at about 220,000 a week. As we’re currently at about 400,000 (give or take) a week right now, the economy still has a bit to go before things are back to regular pre-pandemic levels.

These latest jobless claim numbers are the highest numbers reported in the last six weeks. Since April, unemployment aid applications had dropped every single week. Last week was the lowest the claims had been since the pandemic started. 

However, jobless claims have fallen quite a bit since just the start of 2021. Earlier this year in January, weekly claims were at about 900,000. Even though this latest week has gone up a bit, 2021 will more than likely still see these weekly claims continue to drop in some fashion.

Despite this latest drop, economists believe that the weekly jobless claims will continue to go down with each week. Though there may be weeks like last week where they rise a bit, analysts don’t believe they will have an extraordinary rise. 

After all, the United States economy is continuing to speed ahead. Now that many Americans are fully vaccinated, more people are spending money at restaurants, buying new clothes, traveling around the nation wherever they can, and putting money back into the economy in many ways. Businesses have experienced a huge surge in consumer demand in a variety of industries.

It doesn’t look like Americans will suddenly stop spending money in 2021, as most are ready to attempt to move on from the pandemic. Therefore, these weekly jobless claims should drop as the year progresses, according to economists.

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