The American economy is on the mend — at least through a pandemic-tinted lens.
New unemployment claims finally dipped below 1 million for the first time since March in the past week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Still, the total of 963,000 new claims is well more than the pre-pandemic record of 695,000, and shows that layoffs are still happening even as the Trump administration touts an economic recovery.
Unemployment claims first jacked up at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March, hitting a peak of nearly 7 million. They've dropped significantly since then, but recovery recently slowed as unemployment claims lingered over 1 million for weeks on end. A total of 15.5 million people are still receiving unemployment benefits, per the Labor Department's numbers. That's well above the pre-pandemic record of 6.6 million, The Wall Street Journal notes.
Unemployed Americans were receiving an extra $600/week boost to the their unemployment benefits until the federal government's coronavirus stimulus package expired at the end of July. Democrats, Republicans, and the White House have failed to agree on a way to continue the boost — and some unemployed Americans say they haven't gotten any benefits yet at all due to filing backlogs. Kathryn Krawczyk