Weekly unemployment insurance claims increase less than expected, but remain above 800,000

Unemployment insurance claims rose less than expected last week as employers weighed a winter peak in Covid-19 cases against the expected relief from a pending $ 900 billion stimulus package, the Department of Labor reported. on Wednesday.

The number of early unemployment insurance records slowed to 803,000 in the week ending December 19. Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected initial orders to rise to 888,000.

The previous week’s initial claims have been revised to more than 7,000 to 892,000, the biggest impression since early September.

Continued unemployment insurance claims, an indicator of the number of people receiving benefits through regular state programs, fell to 5.3 million seasonally adjusted in the week ending December 12, from 5.5 million a week earlier, according to the Department of Labor.

In all, 20.4 million Americans were receiving some form of unemployment insurance as of December 5, the report said.

“With a new bill that is likely to be signed with extra benefits and an extension of them in terms of time, we will see how people manage the job opportunities available in relation to the size of those benefits,” wrote Peter Boockvar, Group investment director Bleakley Advisory.

“For those who cannot find work, the extra claims will obviously help them. In any case, in the spring and summer, we expect to see a sharp drop in all these numbers,” he added.

The latest unemployment insurance claims report came amid a dramatic clash between President Donald Trump and U.S. lawmakers.

Earlier this week, Congress passed a long-awaited $ 900 billion aid package with veto-proof majorities. The bill includes $ 600 stimulus checks for most individuals and their dependents, $ 300 federal unemployment benefits per week, and about $ 320 billion in business benefits.

Democrats say the package is a step in the right direction, but that they will advocate more aid after President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20.

“Although we are already listening to opponents criticizing the construction and composition, the end result is that they are spending $ 900 billion on families in the coming months, and that will fully support the economy,” said Nathan Sheets, chief economist at PGIM Renda Fixa , said in a note Tuesday about the latest legislation.

But in an impressive tweet on Tuesday night, Trump cast doubt on whether he would sign the bill, the product of months of negotiations by his own Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin.

Trump called Covid’s relief bill an inappropriate “disgrace” and urged Congressional leaders to make significant edits to the measure, including increased direct payments to individuals and families.

The US is reporting at least 215,400 new cases of Covid-19 and at least 2,600 virus-related deaths each day, based on a seven-day average calculated by CNBC using data from Johns Hopkins University.

Data from The Atlantic’s COVID Screening Project showed a record 117,000 people hospitalized with the virus.

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