The number of out-of-work Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 751,000 – the lowest since early Spring. That’s not to say the overall number isn’t still historically high due to the coronavirus but this is a clear sign of progress. The nation-wide rise in virus cases, along with no second stimulus package or approval on federal aid loom threatens this progress incoming winter months. However, with holiday shopping in full swing and a record amount of online sales expected to provide hope to retailers.
Hospitality Sector Bracing Itself
As temperatures fall, restaurants and bars will likely serve fewer customers outdoors. As cases COVID-19 cases rise nation-wide, many consumers are expected to stay home. However, curbside and takeout still remain strong keeping many in the hospitality industry afloat. The U.S. government stated last week that “growth rebounded sharply in the July-September quarter”. Despite the climb back from a pandemic-related spring collapse, it is believed to remain steady but time will tell.
Government to the Rescue?
With Congress having failed to agree on any further stimulus this year, millions of unemployed Americans and businesses wonder if federal aid will come at all. It’s speculated that politics are playing a part in the delay with House Democrats waiting for Trump’s exit and approving a deal with the likely incoming administration.
The latest report from the Labor Department reports the number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits fell more than 700,000 to 7.76 million. The decline shows these unemployed workers are either being called back to their jobs or are landing new ones. It also may indicate that many jobless Americans have used up their state unemployment aid — which typically expires after six months — and has transitioned to a federal extended benefits program that lasts an additional 13 weeks. The number of jobless claims underscores that a full recovery from the pandemic recession still has a ways to go. Job growth has slowed for three months, leaving the economy short the over 10 million jobs of its pre-pandemic level. However, many experts remain optimistic that with the holiday shopping season and the optimism that comes with the arrival of a New Year that 2021 will start off on a solid note.