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DOL puts positive spin on last unemployment insurance report before election

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In its last weekly report before Election Day next Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reported this morning that seasonally-adjusted new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to 751,000 for the week ending Oct. 24, a decrease of 40,000 from what had been reported the week before.

At the same time, DOL said the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending Oct. 10 stood at 22,654,453, a decrease of 415,727 from the previous week. While that still is a dramatically high level, it is lower than the peak of 33 million receiving benefits in June, which in itself was six times greater than the peak number of people receiving unemployment benefits during the recession of 2009.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice and an appointee of President Trump, said this morning that the economy is showing sustained momentum and shows the U.S. is bouncing back from the coronavirus pandemic faster than predicted.

“Nearly 3.4 million people have come off of unemployment in September and early October,” Scalia said. “Since the peak unemployment in April, we’ve added back nearly 11.5 million jobs and have seen the unemployment rate fall nearly seven points.

“In the third quarter of 2020, real GDP (Gross Domestic Product) grew at an annual rate of 33.1%, greatly surpassing the previous record for quarterly growth set in 1950,” he added.

Scalia pointed to what he described as other strong economic indicators, such as orders for durable goods and home sales.

“Our continued efforts to fight the virus, develop a vaccine, and support Americans who remain out of work will help us rebuild our economy stronger than ever,” Scalia said.

In the week ending Oct. 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment insurance claims was 751,000, a decrease of 40,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 787,000.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits filed by former federal civilian employees totaled 1,736 in the week ending Oct. 17, an increase of 217 from the prior week. There were 849 initial claims filed by newly discharged veterans, a decrease of 49 from the preceding week.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending Oct. 10 were in: Hawaii, 12.6%; California, 10.5%; Nevada, 10.0%; Georgia, 8.3%; District of Columbia, 7.9%; Louisiana, 7.8%; Puerto Rico, 7.4%; Massachusetts, 7.1%; New Mexico, 7.1%; and Illinois, 6.8%.

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Oct. 17 were in: Massachusetts, up 5,442; Kansas, up 3,010; Virginia, up 2,255; Texas, up 616; and Minnesota, up 493.

The largest decreases were in: California, down 16,207; New York, down 11,495; Georgia, down 9,274; Florida, down 7,834; and Michigan, down 7,774.

For the week ended Oct. 24, new unemployment insurance claims in Connecticut stood at 6,020 up 1,625 from 4,395 the previous week. In New York, there were 52,283 new claims, down 2,607 from the previous week.

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