The US's unemployment claims rose from a near-pandemic low

Last week, 351,000 Americans applied for unemployment assistance. This is a sign of how the coronavirus delta may be affecting the recovery of the job market, at least temporarily.

The US's unemployment claims rose from a near-pandemic low

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of jobless claims increased by 16,000 over the week before. The economy's recovery after the pandemic recession has seen the unemployment aid applications drop since they reached 900,000. The four-week moving mean of claims, which smooths out swings week-to-week, fell for the sixth consecutive week, to 336,000, a pandemic low.

The number of jobless claims is still quite high. Before the virus ravaged the economy in March 2020 they were generally around 220,000 per week.

Contingent Macro Advisors stated in a report that the recent spike in unemployment benefits applications, especially in California and Virginia, likely reflected a technical issue in processing claims. "For now the jump in claims over the last two weeks has not been alarming, but it will be closely watched in the coming weeks."

Since March 2020, when the pandemic and subsequent shutdowns brought down economic activity to a halt, America's employers have seen a rapid increase in their hiring. The rollout of vaccines has encouraged businesses to expand and create new hours, and Americans have been able to return to shopping, traveling, and dining out since then.

The delta variant of the recession caused a slowdown in hiring which had been more than 585,000 per month. In August, however, it was just 235,000. Last month, nearly 42,000 jobs were lost at bars and restaurants as COVID-19 cases increased.

In total, 2.8 Million Americans received unemployment benefits in the week ending Sept. 11, an increase of 131,000 over the previous week.

More than 8 million people lost their unemployment benefits earlier this month after two federal programs that protected gig workers and those who had been unemployed for more than six weeks expired. These emergency programs were created to ease the economic hardships caused by the pandemic in March last year.

Additional 2.7 million people receiving regular state unemployment assistance lost a $300-a week federal unemployment supplement last Wednesday.

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