After 15 consecutive weeks of falling, the number of Americans filing new unemployment claims increased last week as new cases of COVID-19 surged.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reported Thursday (July 23) that the number of seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims reached 1,416,000 for the week ending July 18, up 109,000 from the previous week’s revised level.
The previous week’s level was revised up by 7,000 from 1,300,000 to 1,307,000.
Analysts noted governors in several states where businesses have reopened were forced to shutter them for a second time as the coronavirus spread.
Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, said the latest unemployment claims numbers, while disappointing, are not surprising.
“Just as it has been heartbreaking to see the nation still struggling with the devastating and all too often deadly health aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the persistence of elevated new unemployment claims shows the toll the virus continues to take on the economy,” he said in a statement. “At a time when Congress and the White House need to be doing all they can to provide assistance to the unemployed and affected businesses, it is adding insult to financial injury that the next round of relief legislation has yet to be passed in Washington.”
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending July 4 were in Florida (65,890), Georgia (33,292), California (20,123), Washington (16,116) and Indiana (6,258).
“Recent media reports have covered anecdotes of people being laid off after being rehired,” BofA Global Research said in an investors note. “This would suggest a second wave of initial applications, as many states require people to file again if they had discontinued their weekly benefits from their first period of unemployment.”
DOL said Florida was severely impacted by COVID-19. In Georgia layoffs in the healthcare, manufacturing, waste management and accommodation and food services assistance industries were the major reasons for the dramatic rise in claims. California suffered from losses in the service industry while Washington saw job losses in manufacturing, arts, entertainment, and recreation, accommodation and food services.
States that saw the biggest decrease in claims were in Maryland (13,728), Texas (11,583), New Jersey (8,577), Michigan (6,882) and Louisiana (5,066).