In this file:


·         U.S. economy gains 4.8 million jobs, unemployment rate falls to 11.1 percent

·         Senate Democrats push to extend enhanced unemployment benefit until jobless rates fall



U.S. economy gains 4.8 million jobs, unemployment rate falls to 11.1 percent

“We’ve seen that curve going down but we’re still at astronomical levels,” said one economist.


By Martha C. White, NBC News 

July 2, 2020


The U.S. economy gained a whopping 4.8 million jobs in the month of June, bringing the unemployment rate to 11.1 percent and roundly beating economist expectations.


The June data, released Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics — one day early, in deference to the July Fourth holiday — reflects a labor market that is slowly healing from the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic.


Economists had expected an increase of 3 million new jobs and an unemployment rate of 12.3 percent — though a large element of uncertainty prevailed, after May's surprise gain of 2.5 million jobs, when economists had predicted a loss of as much as 8 million positions.


Although the number of jobs added is huge by any historical measure, the economy is still a long way from back to normal, said Dan North, senior economist at Euler Hermes North America. “It still is only chipping away at the 22 million or so jobs we lost,” he said.


The weekly initial jobless claims numbers were also released Thursday, showing that 1.427 million people filed for first-time jobless benefits.


“We’ve seen that curve going down but we’re still at previously astronomical levels,” North said. “The long-term average before this crisis was around 350,000, so we’re at four times the long-term average and more importantly, it’s flattening out,” he said.


The timing of the Independence Day holiday created an unusual situation in that both the monthly BLS data and the weekly unemployment insurance filings tracked by the states were released at the same time.


While both track the health of the labor market, broadly speaking, they are not analogous.


The biggest difference between the two data sets is what exactly is being counted:





Senate Democrats push to extend enhanced unemployment benefit until jobless rates fall


·         Senate Democrats introduced a bill to extend the $600 per week federal unemployment benefit and phase it out when state unemployment rates fall below certain levels.

·         Americans risk seeing their income fall off a cliff when the enhanced unemployment insurance passed as part of the congressional coronavirus relief plan expires at the end of July.

·         Republicans have opposed extending the program.


Jacob Pramuk, CNBC 

Jul 1 2020


Senate Democrats unveiled a plan Wednesday to extend enhanced unemployment benefits until a drop in a state’s unemployment rate, when it would be phased out.


Congress approved in March an additional $600 per week in federal unemployment insurance, on top of what states normally provide, as part of the $2 trillion pandemic rescue package. The policy has given the millions of workers laid off or furloughed during the outbreak a critical income backstop, but it expires at the end of the month even as the U.S. unemployment rate hovers above 13%.


The Democrats’ plan marks a starting point in talks on a relief bill with Republicans, who want to let the unemployment benefit expire at the end of the month. Democrats say the bill would improve the program by tying additional aid to economic conditions rather than setting an arbitrary date to end it.


The legislation would extend the enhanced insurance through March but reduce the amount beneficiaries receive as the economy recovers. Once a state’s three-month average unemployment rate dips below 11%, the benefit would get cut by $100 for every percentage point the jobless rate falls until it slides below 6%.


For example, beneficiaries would get an extra $500 per week if their state’s average unemployment rate sits between 10% and 11%. Once it drops below 10%, the enhanced benefit would fall to $400 per week...