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Jobless Claims Rise in U.S., Signaling a Choppy Labor Market Recovery

Weekly jobless claims in the United States has risen again for the week that ended with July 3, according to new Labor Department data. This means that the amount of Americans filing for unemployment benefits has risen slightly for this last week, even though claims have dropped for the last few weeks. This latest rise in jobless claims signals, yet again, the economy and labor market’s recovery will probably continue to be quite choppy.

Ever since Americans began to get fully vaccinated on a mass amount, many businesses have hoped that this would signal the end to layoffs and regulations. While many regulations and laws have ended as more and more Americans get fully vaccinated, the labor market has struggled to meet the huge surge in consumer demand.

This has left many businesses struggling — but it has also left many economists wondering what the future holds. While hirings picked up in the last month, which made more analysts hopeful, it doesn’t appear that jobless claims are massively falling away, as so many hoped.

When the economy started surging ahead earlier this year as more people got vaccinated, many economists and government officials had very high hopes of where the economy would go. The current labor market problems, however, has recently tempered their hopes. But what do these latest numbers signal?

According to the Labor Department, jobless claims rose by about 2,000 to 373,000 from the week before. This is more than the 350,000 claims that many economists forecast. However, the overall trend for jobless claim filings does continue to be down and is still getting lower, when compared to the labor market COVID-19 stats.

For example, in April 2020, jobless claims were at 6.149 million. Obviously, the labor market has come a long way in just a few short months. However, as the economy speeds ahead and more Americans get fully vaccinated, there is the hope that more will be able to return to work and not file for jobless claims. For a healthy labor market, only 200,000 – 250,000 claims should be filed.

The United States labor market also faces other problems. While hiring has picked up within the last month, the amount of Americans able to work hasn’t really moved for the past few months. This could be for a lot of reasons. Childcare issues and continuing worries about the COVID-19 pandemic has left many from returning to the workforce. Early retirements and changes of career has also affected many industries, and the labor market as a whole.

For many economists, the labor market is still just getting used to readjusting to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many believe that, as the year continues, more people will return to the workforce — and this should result in the number of hirings picking up. As more people go out and spend money at businesses, more help will be needed, and this will hopefully also positively affect the jobless claims numbers.

So, while the latest week signals a rise in jobless claims (which isn’t great), economists are still holding out hope that this won’t be too detrimental to the labor market, or to the overall U.S. economy.


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