2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week
This is the lowest weekly reading since mid-March.
Economic activity in the United States is slowly returning to life, but an additional 2.4 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday..
38.9 million Americans have applied for benefits in the past nine weeks – nearly a quarter of the workforce of 164 million.
However, last week’s figure was the lowest since companies began to close en masse in mid-March following orders from governors..
Now 50 governors have begun easing restrictions and have allowed some companies to resume operations, although rules differ from state to state.
Many states require social distancing in stores, and some retailers require employees and shoppers to wear masks.. Restaurants are only allowed to fill halfway.
However, economic forecasts still look pessimistic.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, speaking to Congress this week, warned that high unemployment will continue in June, but expressed hope that the government’s funding will help spur economic recovery in the second half..
However, some economists believe that the effects of the coronavirus will be felt for a long time to come. for example, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that the unemployment rate by the end of 2021 will remain in the region of 9.5 percent.
According to official statistics, the unemployment rate was 14.7 percent in April, but economic experts from the administration believe that it is in fact higher and may approach 25 percent in the coming weeks. The size of the economy in the first quarter contracted by 4.8 percent.
Powell warns that the American economy could face several years of recession if additional aid to workers is not provided. 40 percent of families with incomes less than $ 40,000 lost their jobs in March.
However, Trump and Republican lawmakers are reluctant to commit additional funds until it is clear how effective the previously allocated anti-crisis packages have been..
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