Jobless claims came out today, and they are back up above 1 million for the week ending Aug. 15, after falling to a (revised) 971,000 the week before. This may be further evidence that the economic recovery is slowing or stalling. One related piece of data that doesn’t exactly bode well for that recovery: job listings are down by about 20% compared to this time last year, according to the jobs site Indeed.com.
They were down by even more in April and May but now the rebound that had started has basically come to a halt. That “suggests the possibility of a quick V-shaped recovery for the labor market continues to diminish,” said Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed. And “that it’s increasingly looking like we’re in for a long haul when it comes to this recovery.”
Job postings have fallen dramatically in industries that you’d expect, like hospitality and tourism, but also in banking and finance and software development.
“We’re at a stage now where we’re seeing a pretty broad hit to postings,” Bunker said. “It’s not just in those sectors of the economy that are directly affected by the coronavirus.”
The numbers give us a sense of how a lot of employers are thinking right now.
“Businesses are less confident about their ability to return to economic normal, and thus, they aren’t hiring as much because they’re concerned about their ability to keep those people employed in the long term,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor, which also tracks job listings.
And the numbers tell us what to expect from future unemployment numbers. Because it’s hard to find a job when you can’t find a company that’s hiring.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?
It’s been weeks since President Donald Trump signed an executive memorandum that was supposed to get the federal government back into the business of topping up unemployment benefits, to $400 a week. Few states, however, are currently paying even part of the benefit that the president promised. And, it looks like, in most states, the maximum additional benefit unemployment recipients will be able to get is $300.
What’s the latest on evictions?
For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.
Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?
Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.
You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.