After months of hit-or-miss progress on weekly unemployment claims in the early part of 2021, CNBC reported this morning on the new report from the Labor Department, which offers the best news on layoffs we've seen in a long while.
Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to a new pandemic-era low last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. First-time filings for benefits totaled 360,000, in line with Dow Jones estimates and the best number since March 14, 2020.
As we've discussed, it was in March 2020 when jobless claims first spiked in response to the COVID-19 crisis, climbing to over 3 million. That weekly total soon after reached nearly 7 million as the economy cratered. For 55 consecutive weeks, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits was worse than at any time during the Great Recession.
And now, that's no longer the case. In fact, today's report is the best since the start of the pandemic.
To be sure, it'd be a mistake to see 360,000 jobless claims as good news on its own. Under normal circumstances, this would be an awful total. In the early months of 2020, for example, the U.S. average on unemployment claims was roughly 211,000 -- well below the total from today's report.
But given what Americans have been dealing with throughout the pandemic, these new figures are worth feeling good about.
What's more, as layoffs drop to 16-month low, the Congressional Budget Office and raised its projection for 2021 economic growth to 7.4%, and the overall economy added 850,000 new jobs in June, far ahead of expectations.
It was just last month when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) insisted that President Biden's economic policies "have stalled our recovery," adding, "Bidenomics is bad for America."
There's quite a bit of evidence to the contrary.