US jobless claims decline to a still-high 900,000

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The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said Ohioans filed 265,467 continued jobless claims last week, which was 510, 835 fewer than the peak a year ago.

Ohioans filed 42,975 initial jobless claims for the week ending January 16, a 15 percent increase over the previous week, the Department of Job and Family Services said.

Weekly unemployment claims have been declining since the early days of the pandemic in March and April.

"The current wave of the pandemic doesn't appear to be receding yet and the prospect of new, more transmissible variants raise the risk of a prolonged third wave", said Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor senior economist.

The state also saw a decline in "continuing", or ongoing, claims for benefits that claimants file each week they remain jobless. This is a decrease of 336 claims from the prior week's total of 985. That suggests that while some of the unemployed are finding jobs, others are likely using up their state benefits and transitioning to separate extended-benefit programs. An extra 423,000 people in 47 states filed claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which assists self-employed workers.


The Extended Benefits [EB], funded by federal and state sources, ended the same week with 14,788 initial claims filed.

Also on Thursday, the government reported that home construction throughout the USA jumped to 5.8% in December to 1.67 million units, ending a strong year in the housing market.

Biden has made clear he will prioritize dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing economic fallout as the recent surge in infections continues to weigh on in-person businesses such as bars and restaurants.

The nation's unemployment rate stands at 6.7%, and almost 10 million fewer Americans have jobs now than at the beginning of 2020.

Yet there are signs that the $900 billion federal aid package enacted late last month may have begun to cushion the damage, in large part thanks to $600 checks being sent to most adults. That was up from a 2% year-over-year increase before the stimulus payments, Bank of America said. Biden's proposal will require congressional approval, and some congressional Republicans have already expressed reservations about its size.

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