The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reported on Thursday (Sept. 24) that the number of Americans who filed for jobless claims in the week ended Sept. 19 increased to 870,000 -- higher than analysts' predictions -- in another sign that the nation’s recovery is uneven.
That's up 4,000 from the previous week’s revised level 0f 866,000, which the Labor Department originally reported at 860,000. While the latest numbers represent the fourth consecutive week filers were below 1 million, the number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance remains historically high.
The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending Sept. 5, the most recent data available, was 26 million, the DOL reported.
Mark Hamrick, Bankrate.com’s senior economic analyst, said that as the downturn persists past the half-year mark, new jobless claims continue to rise.
“This is heartbreaking,” he said in a statement. “Despite the financial struggles of millions of Americans, there’s no sign that elected officials in Washington plan further aid. The provisions of the CARES Act have expired and most businesses on the receiving end of the Paycheck Protection Program now have used up those funds.”
Analysts expected 840,000 Americans to file for first-time unemployment benefits last week. That would have been lower than the previous week’s numbers.
“The current picture suggests that growth has slowed sharply in the past three months, and that the labor market is stalling again in the face of rising infections and the sudden ending of federal government support to unemployed people,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist for Pantheon Macroeconomics, a U.K.-based economic research consultancy, said in a note on Wednesday (Sept 23), according to Yahoo! Finance, hours before the latest DOL data was released.
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Sept. 12 were in Indiana (1,990); Kansas (1,928); Illinois (1,906), where state officials reported an increase in layoffs in the construction and wholesale trades; and Michigan (1,727).
Among the largest decreases were seen in California (-17,400), where fewer layoffs were reported in the service industry; Texas (-15,905); Louisiana (-8,384); Georgia (-8,235); and Washington (-3,291).