Jobless claims reverse, fall to new post-lockdown low of 360K | TheHill

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The Hill 15 July, 2021 - 07:40am 30 views

Another 96,362 Americans applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), an extended jobless aid program created in March 2020 and extended through September. More than two dozen states have pulled out of PUA in a bid to push more workers into jobs.

As of June 26, there were more than 13.8 million Americans on some form of jobless aid, less than half of the 30.6 million on unemployment benefits during the same week last year.

Jobless claims are expected to fall further as the U.S. continues to add jobs and a range of enhanced unemployment aid programs expire on Sept. 6. While 24 governors have pulled out of PUA and many of those programs sooner, experts say there is no apparent effect on employment in those states.

The U.S. is still 6.8 million jobs down from February 2020 despite a record 9.2 million job openings, and the pace of hiring has fallen short of some economists' expectations. Even so, White House and Federal Reserve officials have expressed confidence that the labor market recovery will soon pick up speed.

"There clearly is a very, very high level of demand for people to come into these jobs, and for whatever reason people are taking a little bit of time to look maybe for a better job," said Fed Chair Jerome Powell during a House hearing Wednesday.

"We're kind of finding out as we go but I really do think, come back in six months, there'll be a whole lot of these people back to work and wages will have moved up a little bit."

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BoE policymaker says stimulus could end early; US jobless claims at pandemic low– as it happened

The Guardian 15 July, 2021 - 10:06am

In London, the FTSE 100 index is down 83 points or 1.1% in late trading at 7008 points, while the pan-European Stoxx 600 has lost 0.95%.

Retailers, travel stocks, housebuilders and oil companies are all in the fallers, as traders ponder when central bankers will press on and slow their stimulus packages, to rein in inflation.

“This should be unsurprising, but markets are likely to take the news badly. The most recent moves in monetary policy have been to loosen and were made last year in the face of a Covid-induced economic shock when we did not know when or if vaccines could lead us out of the pandemic. We can now see a path to normality so the reversal of some stimulus is logical.

“It’s clear that the Bank’s willingness to look through current rising inflation was based on a belief that slack in the labour market would keep wages lower, preventing a broad-based rise in demand, but there are signs that new hires are joining on higher salaries, with fewer workers relying on furlough than was expected at this stage.

“Investors on both sides of the Atlantic have come to fear any tightening of stimulus, but we should bear in mind that such moves would only come in response to healthy growth in economies and higher salaries for workers, which ultimately improves the outlook for company earnings.”

Ongoing worries about rising Covid-19 cases continue to hit hospitality firms - cinema chain Cineworld has lost another 8% today, while airline group IAG have dropped 3%.

And retailers are also weaker, with ASOS now down 17% after warning that sales slowed partly because Covid-19 restrictions deterred young people from buying new summer clothes for holidays and festivals.

The Financial Conduct Authority, which also expects to double its headcount in Edinburgh to 200 staff over the next two years, said the moves were meant to reflect the fact that it supervises companies across the country, not only in the City of London.

“We are a regulator for the whole of the UK,” the FCA said as it released its latest business plan.

British government bonds tumbled on Thursday after Bank of England policymaker Michael Saunders said the central bank might call time early on its asset purchase programme, pushing two-year yields to their highest since April 2020, Reuters reports.

Rate-sensitive two-year gilt yields rose almost 8 basis points on the day to 0.161%, pushing past a previous high set in late June to their highest since April 2020, not long after the BoE restarted purchases of government bonds.

Benchmark 10-year gilt yields rose 4 basis points on the day to 0.67% following the speech by Monetary Policy Committee member Saunders, who said inflation pressures risked proving more durable than the BoE had initially hoped.

The S&P 500 index has dipped by 0.25% to 4,367 points, down 6 points, while the Dow is flat and the Nasdaq composite is down 0.2%.

Energy stocks are leading the fallers, following the drop in crude prices, with health and tech lower too.

But industrial stocks, utilities and miners are higher.

A Tesco spokesperson said it was asking customers and staff “to be on the safe side” and “encouraging” them to wear masks. The company added that other measures such as limiting customer numbers in stores and separate entrances and exits would also continue.

John Lewis said that while it recommended wearing a face covering, “the decision over whether to do so or not, when in our shops [in England], will be for each individual to take, based on their own judgment”.

The company said it would be retaining screens in front of tills, hand-sanitising stations and store-cleaning measures put in place since the beginning of the pandemic...

June industrial production a bit softer than expected at +0.4% vs. +0.6% est. & +0.7% in prior month (rev down from +0.8%) … factory production -0.1% vs. +0.9% prior; utilities +2.7% and mining +1.4% pic.twitter.com/h0XoBFTnCa

US industrial production growth slowed in June, up 0.4% after a 0.7% rise in May, the Federal Reserve reports.

Industrial Production in the United States increased 0.40 percent in June of 2021 over the previous month. https://t.co/d2vCgluAuV pic.twitter.com/IjCi676PLc

The narrower measure of manufacturing output fell 0.1% in June, as “an ongoing shortage of semiconductors” contributed to a 6.6% decrease in the production of motor vehicles and parts, the survey shows.

For the second quarter as a whole, total industrial production rose at an annual rate of 5.5% . Manufacturing output increased at an annual rate of 3.7% despite a drop of 22.5% for motor vehicles and parts.

It’s a widespread problem - the latest UK GDP report showed a slump in car output in Britain in May, caused by chip shortages.

However, while factory production has returned to normal, the shortage has become a global crisis, with a new surge in demand leading to companies fighting to secure the limited supplies coming to the market.

Apple, the world’s biggest buyer of semiconductors – spending $58bn (£41.7bn) annually – was forced to delay the launch of the iPhone 12 by two months last year because of the shortage. Sony has warned it may not hit sales targets for the new PS5 console this year because of chip supply problems, and Samsung, the second biggest producer and consumer of chips in the world, said it might have to postpone the relaunch of its high-end smartphone.

However, the hardest hit sector has been the global automotive industry. Car manufacturers are relative newcomers to the semiconductor industry, as investment in tech-heavy electric vehicles increases, and have found themselves at the back of the supply queue. The biggest automotive players, Toyota and Volkswagen, spend about $4bn annually on chips, making them relative minnows in the supply chain.

Ford has been forced to cancel shifts at two car plants and said profits could be hit by up to $2.5bn this year, Nissan is idling output at some plants in Mexico and the US, and General Motors has warned of a $2bn profit hit.

The battle for chip supplies has also sparked governmental concerns. Earlier this week, Boris Johnson said the UK government would step in to review the purchase of the UK’s largest producer of semiconductors by a Chinese-owned manufacturer, under the new National Security and Investment Act 2021 designed to protect key infrastructure businesses from foreign takeovers.

Factory activity in New York state has jumped at a record pace, according to the latest Empire State manufacturing survey.

The July Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that manufacturing activity surged at a record-setting pace in New York State. The general business conditions index rose 26 points to 43.0. https://t.co/psUPHT8E8l pic.twitter.com/2HVFWTKzli

Manufacturers reported that new orders and shipments surged in July, with employment also accelerating...although price pressures remained high too....

Manufacturing activity continued at a record pace, according to the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, with the composite index jumping from 17.4 in June to 43.0 in July. pic.twitter.com/1vLEE9FfCS

Input costs pulled back for the second straight month from May’s record growth rates, but 78.8% of respondents continued to suggest that raw material prices were higher for the month, a very solid pace of acceleration.

At the same time, the index for selling prices soared to an all-time high in July. With supply chain challenges lingering, delivery times once again narrowed to the slowest on record.

However, a similar survey from Philadelphia shows a slowdown in manufacturing growth.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s business activity index fell to 21.9 from 30.7 in June, signaling the lowest growth since December.

US JULY PHILLY FED MFG SURVEY: EMPLOYMENT INDEX 29.2 VS 30.7/JUNE. WORKWEEK INDEX 18.4, - 2 PTS #PhillyFed #manufacturing pic.twitter.com/gisQumd1bJ

There were 360,000 ‘initial claims’ for unemployment insurance last week, a sharp drop on the (upwardly revised) 386,000 jobless claims made in the previous seven days [these are seasonally adjusted].

This latest fall suggests that US firms are holding onto workers, amid many reports of labor shortages from companies struggling to find qualified candidates.

LAYOFF WATCH: U.S. unemployment claims fall 26,000 to 360,000 in week of July 10 - a new pandemic low. They’ve been falling gradually this year in fits and starts. Initial jobless claims still more than double pre-pandemic levels, however. Labor market healing slowly ...

In addition, there were another 96,362 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance from self-employed workers and freelancers who don’t qualify for initial claims.

Claims are still above pre-crisis levels (they were 256,000 in mid-March 2020), but the gap does continue to narrow as the US economy continues to recover from the economic shock.

U.S. weekly initial jobless claims now only around 150K above pre-crisis levels pic.twitter.com/Zu88iXmpcK

The number of continuing claims, which run a week behind the headline number, also fell sharply, down 126,000 to 3.24 million.

That’s also a pandemic low -- but could be driven by people exhausting their benefits, rather than finding jobs.

Regular continuing claims (nsa) fell. Good direction but it's complicated to tell if this is because claimants found a job or exhausted benefits. I used to look at PEUC in tandem, but with various states ending the federal UI programs, its a much more complex picture now. pic.twitter.com/o4fHmX1T4r

The company, founded by the former Lehman Brothers trader Nik Storonsky in 2015, announced on Thursday that it had raised $800m (£579m) from new investors Tiger Global Management and the major Japanese investment group SoftBank, which now hold a near 5% stake in the business.

The news comes almost a month after Revolut revealed that its losses almost doubled last year to £207m despite cashing in on the cryptocurrency boom.

New jobless claims continue to fall in Florida

Tampa Bay Times 15 July, 2021 - 10:02am

The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday estimated 6,430 new claims were filed in Florida during the week that ended July 10, down from a revised count of 6,739 during the week that ended July 3.

Nationally, 360,000 new claims were filed last week, down 26,000 from the previous week’s revised count.

The national number is the lowest since the week ending March 14, 2020, when 256,000 claims were filed.

That same week in 2020, Florida recorded 6,463 first-time jobless claims. A week earlier, 5,325 new claims were filed.

For the past four weeks, Florida has averaged 6,938 new claims a week.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, which will update the state’s employment data on Friday, marks the start of the pandemic as March 15, 2020. New jobless claims spiked to 74,313 that week, quickly overwhelming the state’s online unemployment system.

The state’s unemployment rate now stands at 4.9 percent, reflecting 503,000 people qualifying as out of work from a workforce of 10.24 million in mid-May.

The state update follows the U.S. Department of Labor announcing on July 2 the nation added 850,000 jobs, as the pace of hiring has picked up alongside a surge in pandemic-reopening consumer demand.

The countrywide monthly count is up from 583,000 in May and 278,000 in April. Still, the unemployment rate edged up from 5.6 percent to 5.9 percent as people return to the workforce.

Florida’s rate has seen a similar uptick, even as some industries continue to report that people are slow to return to work.

For example, the American Hotel & Lodging Association on Wednesday launched a “hotels are hiring” ad campaign.

“With leisure travel resuming, the hotel industry needs to fill thousands of open positions to meet an uptick in consumer travel demand,” the association stated in a press release. “To entice more workers to join the industry, hotels are offering employees more competitive pay, flexible scheduling, and additional benefits, including paid time off, health care benefits, retirement savings and more.”

On Tuesday, the National Federation of Independent Businesses reported the “labor shortage remains a challenge for small business as inflation increases.”

NFIB Florida executive director Bill Herrle anticipates an increase in people applying for work because of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ action last month to end Florida’s acceptance of federal pandemic-related unemployment assistance. The assistance is available to states until early September.

“Business throughout the state has been picking up, but having more demand than you’re able to deliver is a curse rather than a blessing,” Herrle said in a release.

The federal aid provided eligible Florida applicants $300 a week in assistance. Florida separately provides a maximum of $275 a week to those qualified as out of work.

Andrew Stettner, an expert on unemployment insurance and senior fellow at the Century Foundation, on Thursday argued for a continuation of the federal unemployment assistance, as 13.7 million workers nationally still are relying on unemployment aid.

“The fate of these workers, and our overall economic health, is one reason why Fed Chair Jerome Powell pledged on Wednesday to continue supporting the economy until it returned closer to pre-pandemic levels, noting that there is no notable difference in labor market outcomes between the some two dozen states that have cut off their residents from the $300 federal supplement and those that have not,” Stettner said in a statement.

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U.S. unemployment claims drop to pandemic low of 360,000, but businesses still struggle to find workers

MarketWatch 15 July, 2021 - 07:49am

Initial jobless claims fell by 26,000 to 360,000 in the seven days ended July 10, matching the forecast of economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. These are traditional benefits paid by the states.

An additional 96,362 applications for benefits were filed through a temporary federal relief program set up during the pandemic, the government said Thursday.

Read: I’ve set pay policies at big companies — here are 3 secrets to getting a raise

The number of people applying for state or federal benefits each week has fallen gradually this year, but claims are still more than double the pre-pandemic average. New claims ran in the low 200,000s before the viral outbreak.

Read: Why used-car prices are driving U.S. inflation higher — and why it won’t last

Big picture: The rapidly recovering economy could grow even faster if millions of people who left the labor force during the pandemic went back to work. Companies have a record number of job opening, but they can’t fill some of them.

“Businesses are still having trouble finding people,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday in testimony to Congress.

Also: Job openings hit record 9.2 million, but workers aren’t easy to find

Twenty-six states have cut off extra federal unemployment benefits in an effort to push the unemployed to find work. Businesses have complained that the benefits are keeping people from accepting jobs.

A new poll by Morning Consult estimates that as many as 1.8 million Americans are staying home because the benefits bring them enough money to get by for now.

About 13.8 million people were receiving unemployment compensation as of late June.

Other factors people have cited include fear of the coronavirus, childcare responsibilities, or an ample financial cushion, perhaps because a spouse is working.

The federal benefits are set to expire in all states in September.

Read: The cost of living posts biggest increase since 2008 as inflation spreads through economy

The details: New jobless claims fell the most in Georgia, Rhode Island, Alabama and Maryland. The only states to report big increases were New York and Texas.

Read: Fed admits inflation rose much higher than expected, but it still insists price increases are temporary

The number of people already collecting state jobless benefits, meanwhile, fell by 126,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.24 million. These so-called continuing claims are consistently falling to new pandemic lows.

Texas and Georgia, two of the states that cut off benefits, showed the biggest decline in the number of people getting benefits. They accounted for almost the entire decline in continuing claims.

Some 4.7 million people who have exhausted state compensation were also getting temporary federal benefits. That was down almost 200,000 from the prior week.

Note to readers: A government review found the number of distinct individuals collecting benefits has been inflated by fraud and double counting.

What they are saying? “Initial claims are gradually falling as layoffs slow, but they remain well above their pre-pandemic level,” said chief economist Gus Faucher of PNC Financial Services. “And there are almost 14 million people receiving some form of unemployment insurance benefit, up from around 2 million before the pandemic.”

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday played down a direct link between the central bank's mortgage bond buying and rising home prices.

Jeffry Bartash is a reporter for MarketWatch in Washington.

U.S. weekly jobless claims fall to 16-month low

Reuters 15 July, 2021 - 07:34am

While other data on Thursday showed import prices rose solidly in June, prices have likely peaked, which could support the view that high inflation is transitory. The economy's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by faster inflation, reflecting strong demand and supply constraints.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told lawmakers on Wednesday that "inflation has increased notably and will likely remain elevated in coming months before moderating."

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 360,000 for the week ended July 10, the lowest level since mid-March 2020, the Labor Department said. Data for the prior week was revised to show 13,000 more applications received than previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 360,000 applications for the latest week. On an unadjusted basis, claims rose 544 to 383,166 last week.

Claims have struggled to make further progress since dropping below 400,000 in late May, even as at least 20 states led by Republican governors have pulled out of federal government-funded unemployment programs. Unemployed people are required to file claims under the regular state programs to determine eligibility for federal benefits.

The early termination of the federal programs followed complaints by businesses that the benefits, including a $300 weekly check, were encouraging unemployed Americans to stay at home. The economy is experiencing a shortage of workers, with a record 9.2 million job openings as of the end of May.

About 9.5 million people are officially unemployed. The disconnect has also been blamed on lack of affordable child care, fears of contracting the coronavirus as well as pandemic-related career changes and retirements. There is so far little evidence that the early termination of federal benefits, which started on June 12 and will run through July 31, has led to a surge in job searches.

The expanded benefits will lapse on Sept. 6 for the rest of the country. Powell told the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on Wednesday that he expected that "job gains should be strong in coming months as public health conditions continue to improve and as some of the other pandemic-related factors currently weighing them down diminish." read more

The Fed's latest Beige Book report, a collection of anecdotes from businesses across the country, showed demand for labor was broad-based, but "strongest for low-skilled positions," noting that "firms in several Districts expected the difficulty finding workers to extend into the early fall." read more

U.S. stocks opened lower. The dollar fell against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury yields were lower.

Companies are clamoring for workers to increase production of goods and services amid a surge in demand unleashed by COVID-19 vaccinations, low interest rates and nearly $6 trillion in government relief since the pandemic started in the United States in March 2020.

Though at least 160 million Americans are fully immunized against COVID-19, some parts of the country with low vaccination rates are experiencing a surge in infections from the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which could slow the recovery.

Claims have declined from a record 6.149 million in early April 2020. They, however, remain above the 200,000-250,000 range that is seen as consistent with a healthy labor market.

Some of the recent elevation in claims has been blamed on the so-called seasonal factor, which the government uses to iron out seasonal fluctuations from the data.

The claims report showed the number of people continuing to receive benefits after an initial week of aid fell 126,000 to 3.241 million in the week ended July 3. There were 13.8 million people collecting unemployment checks under all programs in the week ending June 26.

In another report on Thursday, the Labor Department said import prices rose 1.0% in June after surging 1.4% in May. In the 12 months through June, import prices rose 11.2% compared to 11.6% in May. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices, which exclude tariffs, would increase 1.2%.

The government reported this week that consumer prices increased by the most in 13 years in June, while producer prices accelerated. read more

Imported fuel prices advanced 4.7% last month after rising 5.5% in May. Petroleum prices gained 4.6%, while the cost of imported food increased 1.9%. Excluding fuel and food, import prices climbed 0.6%. These so-called core import prices shot up 1.1% in May.

The report also showed export prices increased 1.2% in June after rising 2.2% in May. Prices for agricultural exports advanced 1.5%. Nonagricultural export prices gained 1.1%.

Export prices increased 16.8% on a year-on-year basis in June after surging 17.5% in May.

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U.S. Jobless Claims, Benefits Payments Fall to Pandemic Lows

The Wall Street Journal 15 July, 2021 - 04:30am

Jobless claims declined to 360,000 in the week ended July 10 from a seasonally adjusted 386,000 a week earlier. Last week’s applications count marked the lowest level for claims since March 2020, the month the Covid-19 pandemic hit the U.S. economy.

The four-week moving average, which can smooth out volatility in the weekly figures, fell to 382,500, also a pandemic low.

Continuing unemployment payments made through regular state programs—which provides an approximation of the number of people receiving benefits—declined by 126,000 to 3.24 million in the week ended July 3, also the lowest level since March 2020.

New claims and benefits payments have trended downward in recent months, largely reflecting a strengthening economy. Still, claims remain elevated compared with the pre-pandemic average of 218,000 in 2019.

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Over 21,000 Unemployment Claims Filed In Illinois Last Week Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

CBS Chicago 15 July, 2021 - 02:40am

CHICAGO (CBS)– The U.S. Department of Labor estimates 21,091 new unemployment claims were filed during the week of April 20 in Illinois, according to the DOL’s weekly claims report released Thursday.

Illinois’ estimated claims are among 360,000 total filed across the country last week.

There were 20,460 new unemployment claims filed during the week of June 21 in Illinois.

There were 23,317 new unemployment claims were filed during the week of June 14 in Illinois.

There were 29,231 new unemployment claims were filed during the week of May 31 in Illinois.

There were 15,134 new unemployment claims were filed during the week of April 26 in Illinois.

There were 17,141 new unemployment claims filed during the week of April 19 in Illinois.

CBS 2 tracked the number of people in Illinois who filed for unemployment every week to capture the economic impact of the crisis. The analysis found more than 3.3 million people have filed for unemployment with the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) in the last year alone.

IDES reported 62,369 people filed unemployment claims during the week of Feb. 8 in Illinois.

There were 40,008 new unemployment claims were filed during the week of Feb. 1 in Illinois.

There were 95,481 new unemployment claims filed during the week of Jan. 18 in Illinois.

There were 95,472 new unemployment claims filed during the week of Jan. 11 in Illinois.

There were 94,944 new unemployment claims filed during the week of Jan. 4 in Illinois.

There were 45,387 new unemployment claims were filed during the week of Dec. 27 in Illinois.

There were 110,486 claims filed in Illinois the week of Dec. 20.

There were 145,054 new unemployment claims filed across the state, the week of Dec. 13.

Illinois reported 138,359 unemployment claims during the week of Dec. 6.

There were 107,616 new unemployment claims filed in Illinois the week of Nov. 29.

Another 74,131 new unemployment claims were filed across the state the week of Nov. 22.

IDES has faced ongoing struggles filling claims during the pandemic. CBS 2 spoke with four IDES employees in May. For the first time, these workers offered a glimpse into the challenges IDES employees face daily working to get thousands of new unemployment claims processed, as well as the factors they believe contribute to why so many people have not received their benefits.

CBS 2 has extensively reported about how unemployment has surged in Illinois and neighboring states during the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment resumed its downward trend, falling to 360,000

Business Insider 15 July, 2021 - 12:00am

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The decline in the seasonally adjusted number resumes the overall downward trend of the volatile data series after an unexpected rise in initial claims last week. The Labor Department noted that this marks a new pandemic-era low.

While the number of Americans newly filing for unemployment benefits tends to bounce around from week to week, it's been on a general downward trend after spiking to record-shattering numbers amid the early days of the pandemic last spring. The return to that downward trend matches other data suggesting a steadily recovering labor market.

Continuing claims, which measures how many Americans are currently receiving normal state unemployment benefits, fell to 3.24 million. The median estimate according to Bloomberg was for a decline to 3.313 million.

The weekly jobless claims numbers come amid several data points suggesting an overall strengthening labor market, albeit one with a long way to go to fully recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The June jobs report smashed expectations, adding 850,000 jobs to the US economy over the month.

There are plenty of signs that workers are more confident in their abilities to find a better job. In May, the most recent month for which data is available, the number of job openings hit a new record high of 9.21 million, nearly matching the number of unemployed workers that month.

May also saw 3.6 million Americans quit their jobs, which followed a record high of about 4 million in April. This is generally a good sign for the economy because it signals that people are optimistic about their abilities to cover their bills or find a new job.

Several states have begun to unwind the federal supplemental unemployment insurance programs passed over the last year to address the economic fallout from the pandemic, with governors arguing that the benefits are discouraging unemployed workers from seeking new jobs.

While jobless claims are far below their pandemic-era highs during which millions of Americans applied for benefits each week, they remain above their pre-crisis trend of around 200,000 per week, suggesting that there's still plenty of room for the labor market to improve.

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