By Bryan Mena
Jobless claims rose last week to a level last recorded in early June, showing the unevenness in the labor market's recovery, while the number of people receiving benefits fell sharply at the start of the month.
Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, rose by 51,000 to a seasonally adjusted 419,000 for the week ended July 17, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility in the weekly figures, slightly increased to 385,250. The increase returned the level of claims to near levels recorded in early June.
The total number paid benefits under all programs, including those created in response to the pandemic, fell by more than one million in early July, at a time when many states acted to end such aid.
Continuing unemployment payments through regular state programs decreased by 29,000 to 3,236,000 for the week ended July 10, the lowest level since March 2020. The declining number of people receiving unemployment benefits likely reflects both an improving economy and that about half of the states have ended enhanced benefits that paid recipients an additional $300 a week on top of state payments.
The latest jobless claims figures show the recovery remains uneven. However, with job gains and consumer spending at high levels--along with more Americans getting fully vaccinated--the economy has expanded robustly so far in 2021 and it's expected to continue into next year. The Delta variant of Covid-19, which has become the primary cause of illness tied to the virus, is not expected to jeopardize the U.S. economic recovery.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 22, 2021 09:05 ET (13:05 GMT)Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.