Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden has been trying his best to catch up to President Donald Trump in the polls when it comes to the economy — but the latest numbers show that the former vice president still has a lot of work to do.
According to a Thursday report from UPI, the nationwide unemployment rate has dropped below 10% as roughly 1,006,000 new filers made unemployment claims last week. It marked a “decrease of 98,000 from the previous week,” UPI reported, when 1.1 million new unemployment claims were filed.
Crunching the numbers
The new numbers are roughly in keeping with the 1 million claims that were anticipated, UPI noted. All told, the unemployment rate fell to 9.9%.
That’s still very high, to be sure — the Great Recession topped out at 10%, according to Pew Research Center — but in these times, any improvement is good news.
The unemployment rate reached roughly 15% in April, according to the Wall Street Journal, as lockdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic led to the suspension of much economic activity and civil society, forcing millions out of work and shuttering countless businesses.
Initial unemployment claims shot past 1 million in March, the Associated Press reported, but those numbers have since dropped, falling as low as 971,000 the week of Aug. 8 before rising again slightly past 1 million, according to CNBC.
Continuing claims fell 223,000 to 14.535 million for the week ending on Aug. 15, CNBC reported.
Recovery on the way?
As the lockdowns thawed, 9.3 million new jobs were added in May, June, and July, but about 42% of jobs lost in the shutdown have not been recovered, the AP notes.
This comes as Congress remains at an impasse on coronavirus stimulus negotiations that seems unlikely to break soon, as partisan tensions flare in the final weeks before voters head to the polls to decide whether or not President Trump should serve a second term.
Democrats have made the toll in jobs and lives of the coronavirus one of their central arguments against the incumbent, who has repeatedly touted the pre-COVID economy as the “greatest” in the nation’s history, while predicting a rapid “V”-shaped recovery. Meanwhile, Trump and his allies have warned that Democratic nominee Biden would freeze any economic recovery with another shutdown.
“In the new term as president, we will again build the greatest economy in history, quickly returning to full employment, soaring incomes and record prosperity,” Trump said in his speech accepting the GOP’s nomination for the White House on Thursday, according to Rev.
He went on: “The cost of the Biden shutdown would be measured in increased drug overdoses, depression, alcohol addiction, suicides, heart attacks, economic devastation, job loss, and much more.”