by Thomas Catenacci
The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims increased to 744,000 last week as the economy continues to slowly recover from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics figure released Thursday represented an increase in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending March 27, when 728,000 new jobless claims were reported. That number was revised up from the 719,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.
Roughly 18.2 million Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits, according to the report.
Economists expected Thursday’s jobless claims number to come in around 694,000, The Wall Street Journal reported. New jobless claims fell below 1 million in the first week of August, which was the first time the weekly claims had fallen below 1 million since March 2020.
“The movement overall is in the right direction,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, told the WSJ. “As we get closer to herd immunity, as restrictions can be lifted — think about dining rooms that can go from 50% to 100% capacity and baseball stadiums that can be 100% instead of 10% — those are things that get us closer to where we were before.”
The U.S. economy added a whopping 916,000 jobs in March, a positive sign that the economy is recovering, according to Department of Labor data released last week. The U.S. added 379,000 jobs in February and a modest 49,000 jobs in January.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have both been bullish in U.S. economic growth projections. The OECD projected that U.S. gross domestic product would surge 6.5% in 2021 while the IMF expects 6.4% growth.
President Joe Biden announced his $2.3 trillion infrastructure package in Pennsylvania last week. The White House said the plan will create millions of “good jobs” and rebuild the nation’s infrastructure.
However, the Biden administration overstated how many new jobs the plan would create by roughly 600%. The plan has also been criticized by business groups, which say it would create barriers to job creation and economic growth since it proposes a corporate tax hike.
Jobless claims hovered around 200,000 per week before the pandemic, according to The WSJ.
Average coronavirus cases and deaths per million have declined in the last two months, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Wednesday, the U.S. reported 781 new coronavirus-related deaths and 61,258 new cases.
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Thomas Catenacci is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Unemployment Insurance Claims Office” by Bytemarks. CC BY 2.0.