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New Jobless Claims Drop Amid Variant Rise, Vaccine Unease

Applications for initial jobless claims dropped 24,000 to 400,000 for the week that ended July 24, according to the Thursday (July 29) weekly report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The previous week’s level was revised up to 424,000 from the original 419,000. 

The continued weeks claimed in all programs was approximately 13.2 million for the week ending July 10, up 582,403 from the week prior. During the same time period in 2020, there were about 31.9 million claims.

In the week that ended July 10, extended benefits were available in Alaska, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island and Texas.

A Bloomberg survey of economists had forecasted that initial claims in the week ending July 24 would come in at about 385,000.

Companies in June added 850,000 positions, the highest level of new job creation since August of last year, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday (July 29).

Employers added 850,000 jobs in June, the most in 10 months. Salaries and hourly rates are also up, in part to attract people to fill much-needed positions as people head back to stores, stadiums, casinos and indoor dining.

Economists have expressed some doubts lately due to the rise in the number of new cases of the Delta variant, supply chain snarls and the shortage of labor, the WSJ reported.

“I do expect to see job growth pick up, but I’m not sure how and when these issues are going to be resolved and how households are going to respond,” Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, told WSJ.

The shortage of labor could spell trouble for the usually robust back-to-school shopping period. Retail job openings hit 974,000 in May, some 19,000 higher than April. The average consumer spent more than $780 during back-to-school sales events. College spending was more than $1,000.

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