The global coronavirus pandemic has been hard on all of us, but it has been particularly tough for Americans as of late.
That’s because we are a nation who loves to gather. We visit restaurants on the regular, we buy season tickets for sporting events, and we do a whole lot of hanging around each other. Our economy thrives on recreation. So, when we are forced to socially distance ourselves, the entire fiscal system here in the US will suffer.
Now, with the COVID-19 issue slowly working its way around the nation, there are some positive numbers to examine.
First-time claims for state unemployment benefits dropped below 1 million last week for the first time since the pandemic hit the economy in March. Claims under a special pandemic program for gig workers and others who are typically not eligible for unemployment also fell.
The drop may signal an improvement in the job market. Jobless benefits have also become less valuable, since a $600 per week federal supplement expired at the end of July.
President Trump on Saturday ordered a temporary payment of $300 per week using redirected FEMA money. But it could take some time before unemployed people are able to collect that cash.
Initial claims for state benefits last week totaled 963,000 — a drop of 228,000 from the previous week — breaking a 20-week streak of claims above 1 million. Jobless claims under the federal pandemic program dropped to 488,622 — down 167,377 from the prior week.
Of course, there is still much work to be done, especially as skepticism regarding the virus remains in certain pockets of the population, and political vultures attempts to seize on the confusion for their own personal gain.
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