U.S. unemployment claims hit their highest level since mid-February, Bloomberg reports.
The Number: Initial claims in regular state programs increased by 45,000 to 770,000 for the week ending March 13, according to Labor Department data.
- On an unadjusted basis, claims jumped up 24,318 to 746,496, which also surpassed a Bloomberg survey estimating the number to likely fall around 700,000.
Why It Matters: The recent peak in claims underscores “how the labor market is still grappling with business closures and health concerns.” Economic recovery is not an upward slope, it’s a series of steps forward and backward.
- It’s important to note the new stimulus President Joe Biden just extended some employment benefits into December.
States with the largest increase in initial claims: Texas, Illinois and Virginia.
- Ohio posted the largest decrease.
The Takeaway: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said recovery “remains uneven and far from complete.”
- “There are 10 million people that need to get back to work and it’s going to take some time for that to happen. It’s not going to happen overnight,” Powell said.
Just another data point in support of Jerome Powell not believing that the labor market is strong enough to warrant a tighter interest rate policy.