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US Unemployment Claims Decrease Modestly; Housing, Factories Underpin Economy

Business Economies Economy labor market U.S. economy US

US Unemployment Claims Decrease Modestly; Housing, Factories Underpin Economy

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WASHINGTON—The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits decreased modestly last week as the COVID-19 pandemic affects the nation, raising the risk that the economy shed jobs for a second straight month in January. Despite the labor market woes, the economy remains anchored by strong manufacturing and housing sectors. Other data on Thursday showed homebuilding and permits for future residential construction surged in December to levels last seen in 2006. Factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region accelerated this month, with manufacturers reporting a boom in new orders. The services sector has borne the brunt of the coronavirus crisis, disproportionately impacting lower-wage earners. Addressing the so-called K-shaped recovery, where better-paid workers are doing well while lower-paid workers are losing out, is one of the key challenges confronting President Joe Biden and his new administration. White House economic advisor Brian Deese said the fragile labor market underscored the urgency for …

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