US weekly jobless rate drops to 751,000

Coronavirus

FILE – In this July 15, 2020, file photo, job seekers exercise social distancing as they wait to be called into the Heartland Workforce Solutions office in Omaha, Neb. For the first time in nearly 50 years, older workers are facing higher unemployment than midcareer workers, according to a study released Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, from the New School. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — The number of Americans filing for unemployment fell last week to 751,000, as the U.S. nears its eighth month of the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest figures released by the Labor Department Thursday show that the number of people filing for jobless benefits dropped by 40,000 from the previous week. Last week’s total marks the lowest since March.

The labor agency’s report also said that the number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits declined to nearly 7.8 million, a drop of 709,000 from the previous week.

Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for Bankrate, warned that the latest figures don’t offer much optimism.

“New unemployment claims are lower, but hardly in the realm where we can take a great deal of reassurance from the present situation or near-term outlook,” Hamrick said. “There are still some 22.6 million individuals receiving some form of unemployment compensation in the latest week, enough to fill a major American city, some of whom are trying to provide for family members.”

The government said Thursday that growth rebounded sharply in the July-September quarter after a collapse in the spring, when the economy shrank at a 31.4% annual rate. Yet growth is believed to be slowing sharply in the final three months of the year to a roughly 3% annual rate.

Hamrick said that there’s a “high level of uncertainty associated with growth in the current quarter, including the risk that consumers opt to spend more time in their homes, and less money out and about, in the coming weeks to avoid the virus.”

He noted that growth remains lower than the end of last year.

Hamrick said it “means it isn’t yet time to hand the mission accomplished banner.”

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