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Monday, January 18, 2021

US jobless claims rise to 742,000

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The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose last week to 742,000, the first increase in five weeks. Experts point to the second viral outbreak is most likely slowing the economy and forcing more companies to cut jobs.

Economy experts predict that the worsening pandemic and the arrival of cold weather could accelerate layoffs in the weeks ahead. Of the roughly 20 million Americans now receiving some form of unemployment benefits, about half will lose those benefits when two federal programs expire at the end of the year.

The Labor Department’s report Thursday showed that applications for jobless aid rose from 711,000 in the previous week. In March, when the pandemic first intensified, the number had soared to 6.9 million. Before then, applications typically hovered about 225,000 a week.

More woes in the weeks ahead

About 12 million Americans will lose unemployment benefits in December when CARES Act provisions lapse, absent an extension, according to a new analysis.

Unemployment benefits will terminate for more than half of current recipients at the end of the year, coinciding with a lapse in federal protections for renters and a resumption in student loan payments.

That intersection may spell financial catastrophe for jobless workers without action from Congress or the White House, according to economists.

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