Wednesday, 03 March, 2021


Unemployment claims rise for the second week in a row

US jobless claims rise to 778,000 as pandemic worsens | The Sacramento Bee US sees back-to-back rise in jobless claims as COVID-19 surges
Conrad Doyle | 27 November, 2020, 19:22

New claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week for the second week in a row, signaling ongoing weakness in the job market as coronavirus infections continue to soar. The savings rate fell for a sixth month.

"With infections continuing to rise at an elevated pace and curbs on business operations widening, layoffs are likely to pick up over coming weeks", said Rubeela Farooqi, chief USA economist at High Frequency Economics. Some economists predict a contraction in gross domestic product the first three months of 2021. After the latest uptick in claims reported on Wednesday, Bloomberg reports this was the "first back-to-back increase since July".

The job market faces additional hurdles as states and cities restrict business activity and hospitalizations spike.

"There is a two-tier recovery from the pandemic recession where the top of society continues to spend as normal, while the bottom-half of the country sits in long lines at food banks with the opportunities for employment few and far between", said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in NY. The U.S. total of new unemployment claims filed last week hit 778,000. But uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus across the U.S.is now rolling back that progress.

USA stocks edged lower along with 10-year Treasury yields, while the dollar fluctuated.

The data also said more than 466,000 people moved from the time-limited regular unemployment benefits as of the week ended November 7 to a special program passed during the pandemic that provides aid to the long-term unemployed, which will also expire at year's end.

Both those programs expire on December 26.

USA durable goods orders increased at a faster-than-expected clip in October, helped by demand for computers and metals, underscoring a manufacturing sector that continues to support the economy. US Treasury prices rose.

The US trade deficit - which US president Donald Trump had vowed to slash during his four years in office - widened to $80.3bn in October, from $79.4bn in September, roughly in line with expectations.

In a separate report on Wednesday, the Commerce Department confirmed the economy's historic pace of expansion in the third quarter.

The University of Michigan's final November reading of consumer sentiment was little changed from the preliminary figure.

-With assistance from Jordan Yadoo, Edith Moy, Sophie Caronello, Jeff Kearns and Ana Monteiro.

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