Initial U.S unemployment claims totaled a seasonally adjusted 840,000 in the week ending Oct. 3, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s revised level but still well above four-times the pre-crisis level, the U.S. Bureau of Labor reported. This marks the 29th straight week that initial unemployment claims coming in above the pre-pandemic record set in 1982. More than 63 million Americans have sought jobless aid since the pandemic began in mid-March — the equivalent of nearly 40 percent of the nation’s total workforce. The department said that continuing claims in regular state programs, which lag initial claims by a week, fell to 10.9 million in the week ending Sept. 26. Furthermore, for the week ending October 3, 53 states reported 464,437 workers applied for PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance), a program for the self-employed and gig workers, the report shows.
The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S job gains slowed sharply as more layoffs become permanent — a sign that U.S economy recovery that is starting to lose momentum. The WSJ survey reveals that 43% of economist says they don’t expect the labor market to claw back until 2023 — this is a slower timeline than economists predicted six months ago. The economy has nearly 11 million fewer jobs in September than it did before the pandemic, a bigger loss than the 8.7 million at the depth of the recession a decade ago. On this month’s survey, just over a 3rd of economists, 34.7%, broadly stuck with that timeline and stated payrolls would recover in 2022, while 43% stated the gaining back of lost jobs will see in 2023, and another 12.2% of economists anticipate it will take even longer — with 2% anticipating it will take until 2030, the report shows.
Technology giant Microsoft will let its employees WFH permanently, even once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. The company said it plans to adopt a new “hybrid workplace” environment that will give employees greater flexibility in the future after the coronavirus pandemic ends. Microsoft stated that it has decided to allow its employees to work in remote freely for less than 50% of their working week — and could WFH full-time if approved by their manager. Whose work can be done in remote, they can apply the option to relocate — even internationally if approved, the company said. We will offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual work styles while balancing business needs, and ensure we live our culture, said Kathleen Hogan, the chief people officer at Microsoft. Most of Microsoft’s 150,000 employees will take advantage of one of these remote-work offerings, The Verge reported.
The US services sector such as travel, health care, restaurants, and real estate grew for the 4th consecutive month in September as the country continued to reopen from earlier COVID-19 shutdowns. The Institute for Supply Management’s services index, which represents about 90% of the economy, climbed to 57.8% last month — a 0.9 percentage point higher than the August reading of 56.9. According to the Institute for Supply Management survey report, nearly sixteen service industries posted growth in September, but the recovery from the pandemic hit continues to face challenges. Some sectors like professional, scientific, and technical services was the only industry reporting a decrease, the report shows. Recovery in the service sector is ongoing as activity continues to come back online more completely, said Rubeela Farooqi, the chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.
According to Congressional Budget Office estimate, the U.S federal deficit hit a record $3.1 trillion for the fiscal year 2020 — more than tripling the $984 billion deficit recorded in fiscal year 2019. The deficit was the largest since 1945 as it represented an estimated 15.2 percent of gross domestic product — marked the fifth consecutive year in which the deficit increased as a percentage of GDP, the CBO report noted. The $3.1 trillion deficit is actually $180 billion smaller than the shortfall that CBO projected in September as revenues were $123 billion greater and outlays were $56 million less than originally projected. Meanwhile, Treasury data indicate that debt has reached 102% of GDP, surpassing the size of the economy. Debt is the size of the economy today and soon it will be larger than any time in history, said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Facebook said it removed more than 200 fake profiles linked to conservative group, according to the Wall Street Journal report. The platform said it had removed 200 Facebook accounts and 55 fake pages on Facebook, and 76 fake accounts on Instagram created by Rally Force, a U.S marketing firm that was worked with Phoenix-based conservative youth organization and Turning Point USA. In addition to removing the accounts, Facebook said is now banned Rally Forge from its platform. According to Facebook, about 373,000 accounts followed one or more of the removed pages, and 22,000 people followed on Instagram accounts. Approximately $973,000 was spent on Facebook and Instagram ads connected to both inauthentic and authentic accounts that were removed as part of the network. Facebook said it also identified that recently the fake accounts would comments on pages of news outlets, including the Fox News, New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN.
A new Gallup survey shows that 72% of U.S parents worried that kids will get COVID-19 at schools. More than half of American parents (45%) say they’re “very worried” that their children will contract COVID-19 at school or in child care facilities and 27% report they are “somewhat” worried. Thirteen percent reported they are “not too worried” and 9% said they are “not at all worried.” Nearly half of parents said cleanliness and sanitation procedures of the school had a major impact on their feelings about sending their children to full-time in-person school, and 47% saying requirements for daily health screenings of students, teachers, and staff also have major impacts. However, about half of parents prefer child’s school offers full-time remove instruction and that rate increases among those who are very worried their child will contract the virus.