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U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Showed Another Week Without Progress

Economic IndicatorsMar 04, 2021 08:26AM ET
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© Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith 

Investing.com -- The number of people applying for jobless benefits stayed at an elevated level for another week, despite the first relaxations of measures designed to stop the winter surge in Covid-19 cases.

The Labor Department said that 745,000 people filed initial jobless claims last week, fractionally below expectations for 750,000 but up slightly from a revised total of 736,000 last week. The biggest increase in initial claims was in Texas, with just under 18,000. The state had suffered disproportionately from the collapse of its energy system due to an extreme cold snap late last month.

The number of continuing claims, which are reported with a one-week lag, fell by 124,000 to 4.295 million. However, that number doesn't capture the full extent of underemployment caused by the pandemic and the lockdown measures taken to contain it. 

The broadest measure of those claiming under federal and state programs, which include those set up specifically since the pandemic struck, showed a big improvement in the week through February 13, falling by over 1 million to 18.026 million. 

"Two good weeks in this volatile series don’t prove anything," said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist with Pantheon Macroeconomics, in emailed comments, "but whatever happens next week, we expect the trend to fall sharply over the next few months, provided the new Covid variants don’t trigger a spring wave in cases and, more importantly, hospitalizations."

"The jury is still out," he added.

There were clearer signs of progress with the monthly Challenger Job Cuts survey, which fell by more than half from January's level to 34,531. That's the lowest level since before the pandemic erupted a year ago.

Hopes for a relatively swift decline in unemployment have risen in recent weeks as a series of states, most notably Texas this week, have lifted public health measures restricting businesses, which have hit the labor-intensive service sector particularly hard. However, a suite of Federal Reserve officials have pointed to a still-vast reservoir of unemployed and discouraged workers, noting that the prospect of full employment is still way off. 

Employment in the U.S. is currently running some 10 million below where it was a year ago.

U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Showed Another Week Without Progress
 

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Comments (28)
Market Watcher
Market Watcher Mar 05, 2021 8:28AM ET
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Low income replaced by higher paying unemployment does that. Real world dynamic is not enough workers to fill the jobs. Change the talking point and markets will favor it. Politics 101
Terence Williams
Terence Williams Mar 04, 2021 2:52PM ET
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It's so odd living in Calif where lockdowns and masking and closed schools are the rule..it seems forever. Yet other states are open and thriving..same virus..same infections..but very different worlds. Droves are leaving it is said..yes..it makes sense to me.
Anthony Anthony
Anthony Anthony Mar 04, 2021 1:54PM ET
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Ya keep feeding those low life with free money, they will never go find jobs.
Darryl Allen
Darryl Allen Mar 04, 2021 1:19PM ET
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Why would someone get a job when they're paid the same amount to sit around smoking ****
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Mar 04, 2021 11:21AM ET
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Prepare for at least 4 years of this, the biden administration is not working for Americans.
Davis Davis
Davis Davis Mar 04, 2021 10:19AM ET
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put Trump back in the office. Stocks will 🚀🚀
Viking Fire
Viking Fire Mar 04, 2021 10:19AM ET
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If trump didnt lie to everyone about the virus and actually got to work on vaccinnes right away wed already have this behind us
ben sc
ben sc Mar 04, 2021 10:19AM ET
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Orange Man Bad!
Pa Ga
Pa Ga Mar 04, 2021 10:19AM ET
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Lol completely wrong. That is the only thing he did right.
Code Bro
Code Bro Mar 04, 2021 10:19AM ET
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he did that so people don't panic .. we don't know behind the scene what trump do .. some information about country not always tell the public ..
Bobby Caniedo
Bobby Caniedo Mar 04, 2021 9:55AM ET
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Hw to join my smoll capital
Bobby Caniedo
Bobby Caniedo Mar 04, 2021 9:52AM ET
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Hw to join my smoll capital
Casador Del Oso
Casador Del Oso Mar 04, 2021 9:35AM ET
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stock market should be up on this news
Patryk Sl
Patryk Sl Mar 04, 2021 9:35AM ET
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no.
Frederick Chotsky
Chotsky Mar 04, 2021 9:35AM ET
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he's being sarcastic. Get a sense of humor.
andrew staggs
andrew staggs Mar 04, 2021 9:19AM ET
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labor market won't improve. don't fool yourselves
Viking Fire
Viking Fire Mar 04, 2021 9:19AM ET
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Trump sure left us with a disaster. He beat Bushs records.
Show previous replies (1)
Renzo Francesqui
Renzo Francesqui Mar 04, 2021 9:19AM ET
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Blame that Asia country that hid the real extend of the virus and let it to spread all around the world
Jeff Chevalier
Jeff Chevalier Mar 04, 2021 9:19AM ET
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BS. The US knew the dangers and the previous administration hid/ignored it. Remember, it's only one person and it'll go away in the spring.
ben sc
ben sc Mar 04, 2021 9:19AM ET
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every D downplayed it as much or more than Orange Man.
Renzo Francesqui
Renzo Francesqui Mar 04, 2021 9:19AM ET
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Every country in the world knew it, and every country is in bad shape (China is hiding real dats obviously) if only China and the WHO acted like they should in the beggining we would be good. Im not american and I dont live in US so I guess my opinion is neutral since obviously Im not a democrat nor Republican
Anthony Cloud
Anthony Cloud Mar 04, 2021 9:19AM ET
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Closing states and business comes down the the state’s govenor - not the president.
Dietmar Stahl
Dietmar Stahl Mar 04, 2021 9:12AM ET
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Who care thats old data. In May everything will be open. Covid is over.
Ry Spanky
Ry Spanky Mar 04, 2021 9:12AM ET
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Seems the first bit of the Biden admin has only cost jobs... no forward progress. Good thing he figured out the Mr.Potato Head problem
Sam Iam
Sam Iam Mar 04, 2021 9:03AM ET
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And that's why Texas had to reopen its economy into full speed ahead mode.
Viking Fire
Viking Fire Mar 04, 2021 9:01AM ET
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Encourage everyone you know to get the vaccine asap. Sooner that happens sooner we can move away from “stimulous”
James Johannsen
James Johannsen Mar 04, 2021 9:01AM ET
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nope
The Chad Bull
The Chad Bull Mar 04, 2021 9:01AM ET
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No chance i am taking the warp speed MRNA experimental vaccine promoted by bill gates
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Mar 04, 2021 9:01AM ET
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LOL, the problem is biden
michael engel
michael engel Mar 04, 2021 8:55AM ET
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The $1400 wouldn't matter if the FANG will flip.
Tobechukwu Olumba
Tobechukwu Olumba Mar 04, 2021 8:54AM ET
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Unemployment is bad as it should be. The rates need to be at a lower standpoint.
Seth Galentine
Seth Galentine Mar 04, 2021 8:54AM ET
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I have been trying to hire people for two months!!!!!!! No one is willing to work!
Viking Fire
Viking Fire Mar 04, 2021 8:54AM ET
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Your conditions are likely unreasonable for your compensation
TheEnd IsNigh
TheEnd IsNigh Mar 04, 2021 8:54AM ET
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Why deal with that pesky work when you could just stay home and binge on Netflix using stimmy and bonus UI benefits?
The Chad Bull
The Chad Bull Mar 04, 2021 8:54AM ET
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The economy is dead
Jose Soberanes
Jose Soberanes Mar 04, 2021 8:54AM ET
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This administration has put citizens last! What else would you expect!
Brian Gulledge
Brian Gulledge Mar 04, 2021 8:53AM ET
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I love how they say no progress made even though the claims were lower than expected.
Unoqueva Alguno
Unoqueva Alguno Mar 04, 2021 8:53AM ET
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the lesson that I can learn from all the economist from 2020 is that if nobody has a job and nobody can buy good and services it is good news for tech, good news for markets and good news for the economy.
Brian Gulledge
Brian Gulledge Mar 04, 2021 8:52AM ET
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I love how they say no progress made even though the claims were lower than expected.
Joe Lock
Joe Lock Mar 04, 2021 8:49AM ET
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Do they really expect it to improve when you can make more sitting home.
Viking Fire
Viking Fire Mar 04, 2021 8:49AM ET
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Unemployment requires people to make efforts to get back to work so you must be talking about stimy checks. If they make more from those than theres a serious problem with how low employers are paying
Joe Lock
Joe Lock Mar 04, 2021 8:49AM ET
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Viking Fire  Yes, companies are complaining their employees don't want to come back until benefits are dried up.
Darryl Allen
Darryl Allen Mar 04, 2021 8:49AM ET
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Unemployment requires you to check a box that says you're looking for work, it doesn't mean people actually do it.
 
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