Last week saw a drop in the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits. This is a sign that job opportunities are improving and layoffs have declined.
According to the Labor Department, jobless claims fell by 7,000 from the week before to 411,000. From around 900,000.00 in January, the number of weekly unemployment aid applications has been steadily declining this year. The pace of layoffs generally affects the level of unemployment claims.
The pandemic is slowly receding and states and cities are easing more business restrictions. California’s recently reopened June 15, and the economy is gaining momentum as more people travel, eat out, and visit amusement parks and movie theaters. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the annual growth rate could reach 10% in the April-June quarter.
Many employers are desperate to hire and some states have begun to end several unemployment assistance programs related to the pandemic. This is in response to businesses complaining that the assistance makes it difficult for them to find workers. 26 states will stop paying $300 per week in federal unemployment payments. 22 states will also end all assistance for self-employed workers, “gig workers” and people who have been out of work for more than six months. The $300 extra will end Sept. 6.
Bank of America economists have found that people who earn less than $32,000 per year in their previous jobs could receive more jobless assistance if they are able to pay $300 extra. The federal expansions to unemployment benefits have also made it possible for millions self-employed workers and contract workers to get aid for the first times.
The $300 payment was stopped by four states, Alaska, Iowa, and Mississippi. The two programs that provided coverage for the self-employed, as well as the long-term jobless, were also canceled by all but Alaska.