Associated Press/Photo by Damian Dovarganes (file)

Jobless claims plummet as retail sales jump

by Kent Covington
Posted 4/15/21, 04:14 pm

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week tumbled to the lowest level since the pandemic began. The U.S. Labor Department reported 576,000 new jobless claims last week—a 25 percent drop from the week before.

Is there more good news? In March, employers added more than 900,000 jobs, the most since August 2020. That dropped the unemployment rate to 6 percent, less than half the pandemic peak of 14.8 percent. Sales at stores, car dealers, restaurants, and bars also jumped by almost 10 percent in March, the biggest gain in nearly a year.

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Associated Press/Photo by Nam Y. Huh

Jobless claims at lowest since pandemic

by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 3/25/21, 05:20 pm

Some 684,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, according to Thursday’s report from the Labor Department. That’s a sharp drop from the week before and the fewest since the COVID-19 pandemic began a year ago.

Is the economy getting better? The economy added twice the number of jobs in February as in January, a shift economists hope will become a long-term trend. But 18.9 million people are still collecting unemployment benefits, putting the U.S. unemployment rate at 6.2 percent.

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Illustration by Rachel Beatty

Wasted aid

By the Numbers
by The Editors
Posted 2/11/21, 01:58 pm

$11.4 billion

The amount in unemployment benefits involving fraud the state of California has paid out during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the state’s Employment Development Department. That figure is 10 percent of pandemic-related benefits the state has paid. A state audit blamed protocols at the department for not safeguarding benefit payments.


The amount of cash the U.S. Justice Department has seized in investigating fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program payments.

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