Jay Kesavan
4 min readOct 20, 2020




Initial U.S unemployment claims totaled a seasonally adjusted 898,000 in the week ending Oct.10, an increase of 53,000 from the previous week — was the sharpest rise in seasonally adjusted initial claims since the week of August 15, the Labor Department reported. The insured unemployment rate was 6.8% for a week ending Oct.3, a decrease of nearly 1%. Continuing claims, which track the aggregate total of Americans receiving jobless benefits through regular state programs, fell to about 10 million from 11.2 million the previous week. Furthermore, for the week ending October 10, 51 states reported 372,891 workers applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a program for the self-employed and gig workers, the report shows.


Nearly a dozen New Jersey-based companies announced a new initiative to get the state back to work. The coalition said it will hire more than 30,000 workers from historically underserved communities by the end of the decade and committed to spending an additional $250 million in procurement with a focus on diverse companies by 2025. The efforts will focus particularly on the minority population’s hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CEOs of the nine companies are also challenging others in the business community to create an additional 40,000 jobs and $250 million in local purchases. This is a direct investment both in our people as well as in our small businesses and communities of our state, Gov. Phil Murphy said during an announcement over Zoom.


Jobless claims keep rising in the tri-state area. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut saw an 8.12% increase in the number of people filing for initial state unemployment benefits, according to the Department of Labor. In New York, nearly 69,000 people filed initial unemployment claims — a 3.25% increase from the prior week and another 29,500 filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a new federal program that extends benefits to freelance and contract workers. The department said over 29,000 New Jerseyans filed initial claims for unemployment last week — an increase of roughly 5,500 from last week. Nearly 1.4 million people have qualified for jobless benefits since mid-March, and NJ has paid out $16.5 billion in state and federal assistance. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, Connecticut state unemployment applications hit 1 million and paid out $5.5 billion in state and federal assistance, according to the WSJ report.


The U.S Commerce Department reported that U.S. retail sales increased 1.9% in September –marking the fifth straight month of retail sales growth amid the coronavirus pandemic. The figure was up from August’s increase of 0.6%, the report shows. In September, spending rose across almost every type of store, except for electronics. The report shows that sales were increased at clothing and accessories (11%) department stores (9.7%), auto dealerships and auto part shops (3.6%), general merchandise stores (1.8%), restaurants and bars (2.1%), and sporting goods stores jumped 5.7%. At the same time, declines were seen in electronics and appliances stores as sales dropped 1.6% from the August levels, according to WSJ. Retail sales are continuing to build on the momentum. A significant number of people remain unemployed, but more are going back to work, and that makes them confident about spending, says Jack Kleinhenz, NRF’s chief economist.


Industrial production in the United States fell 0.6% in September after rising by 0.4% in August. The decline in industrial production is the first time after four straight months of gain but has still recovered more than half of its February to April decline. The September output remains still 7.1 percent below its pre-pandemic February level, the Federal Reserve said. The unexpected decrease in September was partly due to 5.6% in utilities output as demand for air conditioning fell, manufacturing output fell 0.3% in September, after rising 1.2% in August. The output of motor vehicles and parts fell 4%. Utility production fell a sharp 5.6% in September after a 1% decline in the prior month, the Fed reported. While mining output surged up by 1.7% after a 2.4% fall in August, according to The Wall Street Journal.


U.S. colleges are seeing sharp declines in enrollment this fall as the coronavirus disrupts students’ plans. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center data, undergraduate enrollment is running 4.0 percent below last year’s level, and the population of first-year students fell by 16.1%. The data shows that male undergraduate enrollment fell by 6.4%, while the decrease among female students was 2.2%. The declines were sharpest from enrollment in public two-year community colleges, which is down a staggering 22.7% this year. Enrollment at four-year public colleges and universities fell by 14% and 13.7% for first-year undergraduates. At private, nonprofit colleges, those declines were 2% and 11.8%, respectively. Economists worrying about the impact on lower enrollment rates that will have on college towns, who derive much of their revenue from the student population.


NASA said it’s investing the money in Nokia-owned American research, Bell Labs, to build the first-ever 4G mobile network on the Moon with $14.1 million, the Finnish telecommunications firm announced Monday. NASA said it made the announcement as part of their $370 million in new contracts for lunar surface research missions, reported UPI. Jim Bridenstine, Nasa administrator, added the space agency goal is to have astronauts working at a lunar base by 2028. We need power systems that can last a long time on the surface of the moon, and we need habitation capability on the surface, Bridenstine said. The improved data transmission will help astronauts control lunar rovers, navigate lunar geography in real-time, and stream videos.



Jay Kesavan

Ai | Future of Work | Prof. HR Analytics @ NYU