Jobless Claims Hit Highest Level Since Mid-August as Stimulus Hopes Fade

Workers in the United States continued to seek financial assistance from the government, which is currently in a stalemate over the next round of coronavirus relief.

According to the Department of Labor, another 898,000 Americans filed for first-time jobless claims in the week ended Oct. 10 — an increase of 53,000 from the previous week‘s revised level. Economists had predicted a total of 830,000 filings last week.

The data also showed that continuing claims, which paints a broader picture of unemployment in the country and lags jobless numbers by one week, declined by 1.165 million to slightly more than 10 million.

Weekly applications for unemployment have dropped significantly since peaking at 6.9 million in late March as the pandemic took hold in the U.S. However, the slowdown went into reverse last week, when the economy recorded the highest number of claims since Aug. 22 and signaled there could still be a long way to go before recovery is consistent.

The number of unemployed Americans has hovered over 800,000 for more than a month. Until mid-March, weekly applications held at about 200,000. (The previous record for most claims filed came in October 1982 and was 695,000.)

At midnight, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to urge the passing of a stimulus package, which could help give a boost to individuals, businesses and states that have been negatively impacted by the health crisis. He also took aim at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom he said “couldn’t care less about the American people or the great American worker.”

“She should approve needed stimulus now. Most other Dems agree,” the U.S. leader wrote in a tweet. “Republicans are ready to go. I am ready to sign!”

However, on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he and congressional lawmakers were still “far apart” on the terms of the aid. He and Pelosi are expected to hold later today their latest round of discussions on a potential bill.

Two weeks ago, Democrats passed a stimulus measure worth $2.2 trillion, which is worth roughly the same amount as the Coronavirus Aid Response and Economic Security Act (or CARES Act) that was introduced at the end of March. Republicans countered the proposal with a separate $1.6 trillion package, but an agreement between both parties on the specific provisions and cost of another legislation has yet to be reached.

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