The Labor Department on Thursday reported that the number of applications for unemployment benefits in the United States fell again last week. Still, a new surge in coronavirus in the country poses a threat to the world’s largest economy.
Seasonally adjusted, 709,000 unemployed people applied for benefits last week, 48,000 less than the revised figure for the week before last. For the fourth week in a row, the number of applications has remained below 800,000.
According to the Ministry of labor, there are 6.8 million unemployed people in the country, and the unemployment rate is 4.6 percent. At the peak of the pandemic in April, this figure reached 14.7 percent.
However, more than 140,000 new cases of coronavirus a day have recently been reported in the US. The surge in infections is forcing the authorities of some States and municipalities to restrict business activity again, which may lead to new layoffs.
About a third of the unemployed have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. In April, the figure was 4.1 percent.
Two weeks ago, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy grew 7.4 percent from July to September but is expected to slow in the latest quarter.
Congress resumed work after the election, but this week there was no sign of a compromise on a new economic aid package for the coronavirus.
It is unclear whether President Donald Trump will reach an agreement with Congress before he is expected to leave office on January 20. Trump did not admit defeat in the election and is challenging the results of the vote count.
It is also unclear what role Democrat Joe Biden, who is considered the winner of the presidential election, can play in negotiations on the aid package.
Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who was re-elected to a new term, expressed hope that Congress will approve additional aid by the end of 2020.