The Labor Department reported on Thursday that more than 1.4 million Americans filed new unemployment claims last week—up from 1.3 million the prior week, marking the first increase in new claims since March.
Claims peaked in the final week of March, when a staggering 6.6 million Americans filed for jobless benefits. Since then the tally was continually decreasing for 15 weeks in a row, up until today’s report reversed the course.
The reversal comes amid news of coronavirus surges across the country, which have caused a number of states to roll back plans for reopening. It also comes as the $600-per-week federal pandemic relief program is set to expire this week—which experts fear will lead to more layoffs and unemployment. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, more than 20 million Americans could lose up to $842 billion to spend on various stores and services when those payments end.
President Trump—in what was also seen as a reversal—took a somber tone on Tuesday during a coronavirus briefing, telling Americans that we can expect the crisis to “get worse before it gets better.” Unfortunately, it seems like he might be right on that.