1.1 Million File Jobless Claims, Labor Market Remains Unstable Amid Pandemic

The U.S. labor market remains unstable as 1.1 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, up from 960,000 the week before.

While there were far fewer jobless claims than at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment benefit applications have hovered between 1-2 million for the past two months, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The labor market continues to reel from business closures prompted by the spread of coronavirus.

That jobless claims “remain exceptionally high, even as businesses are reopening, and are indicative of extremely weak labor market conditions,” Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, told the Wall Street Journal. The U.S. has regained 9.3 million jobs out of the 22 million lost when the coronavirus reached the country.

Federal unemployment benefits of $600 per week expired on July 31, amid congressional deadlock regarding an additional economic relief package. President Trump has attempted to institute a $400 per week benefit by executive order, but there has been confusion over sources of funding for that benefit. Some Republicans have also questioned the constitutionality of the president’s use of executive orders to mandate unemployment benefits.