New unemployment claims hit lowest two-week rate since March

As the nation’s economy continues to claw its way back from a coronavirus-induced recession, the latest encouraging sign for the U.S. — and perhaps President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign — came in new unemployment numbers released this week.

New weekly claims for unemployment benefits appear to have stabilized soundly below the 1 million mark for time since March, as reported by Yahoo Finance.

Positive trends

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the seven-day period ending on Saturday saw roughly 884,000 new claims.

That number was nearly the same as the previous week, which made it the first time that number fell below 1 million for two consecutive weeks since widespread shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although more optimistic estimates suggested new claims could dip as low as 850,000, the steep drop since the peak of the ongoing public health crisis is staggering. New weekly claims topped out at about 7 million in March, according to NBC News.

Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate has been nearly cut in half, falling from a high of about 15% in April to just over 8% last month. Roughly 1.4 million jobs were added to the labor market in August.

Of course, the current rate still represents a level about four times what it was prior to the pandemic, as the Washington Examiner noted.

Signs of a recovery

In terms of overall unemployment benefits, about 29 million Americans were signed up to receive some form during the week ending Aug. 22, compared to 1.5 million during the same time period last year.

The roughly 13.385 million continuing claims for unemployment during the week ending Aug. 29 showed a slight uptick from the 13.292 registered during the preceding week.

Trump has long predicted a “V-shaped” economic rebound as the nation continues reopening for business while Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden received some criticism for suggesting that another shutdown might be necessary to combat a future wave of the virus.

Many supporters of the president cite his handling of the economy as a major reason they believe he deserves a second term.

With weeks left until Election Day, the continued upswing of Trump’s promised “V-shaped” recovery might prove to be the boost he needs to completely close a narrowing gap in the polls.

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