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Pressures on US economy deepen

By SCOTT REEVES in New York | China Daily | Updated: 2020-08-01 09:47

People line up outside a Kentucky Career Center hoping to find assistance with their unemployment claim in Frankfort, Kentucky, US, June 18, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

Initial jobless claims rose for a second consecutive week in the US, with the grim employment data following hot on the heels of a record contraction in the economy as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic deepens, government statistics show.

The nation's gross domestic product fell at a 32.9 percent annualized rate in the second quarter and 9.5 percent compared with the same period a year ago-the sharpest decline for both tallies since 1947 when record-keeping began, the US Commerce Department reported on Thursday.

Initial jobless claims rose for the second week in a row amid an increase in coronavirus infections and new orders by governors to close the economy in some states, the department said.

"The recovery will be slow as the lingering effects of COVID-19 severely limit growth," S&P Global said in a research report.

"We expect a modest rebound of 5.2 percent in 2021, a full percentage point weaker than our previous estimate of 6.2 percent."

First-time jobless claims for the week ending July 25 totaled 1.434 million. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected initial claims to tick up to 1.45 million.

It was the 19th consecutive week initial unemployment claims totaled at least 1 million.

First-time jobless claims had declined for 15 consecutive weeks prior to the latest round of state-mandated lockdowns.

"We expect a slower drift down for the unemployment rate this year to 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter, almost 1 percentage point higher than in our April baseline forecast,"S&P Global said in the report.

"The unemployment rate won't reach precrisis levels until fourth quarter 2023."

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