Although new weekly jobless claims have resumed their decline, numbers are still above 400,000 for the second week in a row. This claim number is higher than the predicted drop to 380,000.
First time jobless claims fell from 418,000 to 411,000 this week, above the expected 380,000 and almost double the pre-pandemic statistic. The previous week’s increase in claims ended a six-week streak of improvements in initial filings, but overall, these claims are following a downward trend. Continuing claims fell from 3.534 million to 3.390 million, below the 3.460 million estimated, which reflects the lowest since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 (Yahoo).
Elevated levels of unemployment are undoubtedly linked to states that shut down businesses. With the introduction of the vaccine and the gradual decline of cases, however, more and more states are on their way to being fully open again. Unfortunately, this reopening will not include many small businesses, specifically dining establishments.
Nation’s Restaurant News reports that over 10 percent of restaurants in the United States have permanently closed their doors since the beginning of the pandemic last March. Food trucks were hit the hardest, with 22.5 percent out of business, followed by chains with between 51 and 100 units at 16.2 percent. Quick service restaurants fared the best with closures at 9.8 percent.
Luckily, there are numerous employment opportunities around the country with roughly 9.3 million job openings, only 300,000 shy of the total number of American workers considered unemployed (CNBC). Despite a high number of job vacancies, the labor force participation rate has not recovered to a pre-pandemic level. On one hand, workers say they felt discouraged after January and February job prospects turned up blank. Some, though, believe the government has interfered too much, causing the labor shortage.
Robert Stevenson, CEO of Eastman Machine Company, spoke to NBC saying, “I had one guy quit who said I can make more on unemployment. I’ll take the summer off. I told him I can’t guarantee you’ll have your job back. He said, ‘I’ll take my chances.’” As of the week ended June 5, the total number of claimants reported across all unemployment benefit programs was at 14.8 million.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH A. HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CNN
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