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US Unemployment Hits Another Pandemic-Era Low

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According to the latest statistics from the US Department of Labor, new applications for unemployment benefits are once again on a downward trend, signaling economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic is by no means over, if absolutely nothing else, we have at least somewhat reached a point where we can get on with daily business safely, and the job market is reflecting that.

In the week ending in July 10, new claims dropped to approximately 360,000 for the whole country, an approximately 26,000 drop from the week prior. These numbers are in line with unemployment predictions previously made by Wall Street Journal analysts. However, while initial claims are decreasing from their absolute peak in March and April of 2020, they are still notably higher than they were at pre-pandemic levels, which ran around 200,000.

“Initial claims are gradually falling as layoffs slow, but they remain well above their pre-pandemic level,” said chief economist Gus Faucher of PNC Financial Services. “And there are almost 14 million people receiving some form of unemployment insurance benefit, up from around 2 million before the pandemic.”

Numerous people were either laid off or forced to quit their jobs at the height of the pandemic, and many business owners are having difficulty filling the surplus of vacant positions. Many people are still choosing to remain home out of continued fear for their safety against the coronavirus, while others have discovered newfound passions for their families, especially with some children still learning remotely. Some polls suggest that approximately 1.8 million Americans are not working because boosted unemployment benefits are providing them a better living wage than the jobs they previously held, which is why both businesses and lawmakers have been trying to end the boosted benefits early and encourage people to return to work (as opposed to, say, increasing minimum wage).

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