Initial U.S unemployment claims totaled a seasonally adjusted 870,000 in the week ending Sept.19, an increase of 4,000 from the prior week’s revised number, but still about four times pre-pandemic levels, the Labor Department reported. It listed the unemployment rate at 8.6%, with 12.58 million workers filing continued claims for benefits — a decrease of 0.1% from last week. Furthermore, for the week ending September 19, 52 states reported 630,080 workers applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a program for the self-employed and gig workers, the report shows. However, the job market has slowed in recent months and layoff announcements are ongoing, indicative of continuing strains in the labor market, said Rubeela Farooqi, the chief U.S economist.
U.S new business formation is rising at the fastest rate in more than a decade, despite the pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reports. The applications for the employer identification number (EIN) that entrepreneurs need to start a business have passed 3.2 million this year — up from only 2.7 million seen in the same period last year. That number includes gig-economy or other independent contractors who may have been hit by economic turbulence and have been laid off from previous positions. New applications among businesses that employ other workers were up by 1.1 million through September — that’s up 12% over last year’s level, according to the data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The net worth of American households and nonprofit organizations soars to a record high of $118.96 trillion — an increase of 6.8% from the previous quarter and up 4.4% year-over-year. The gain was the largest in quarterly records back to 1952, new Fed data show. The surge was fueled by the stock market rally and government stimulus. The value of equities advanced $5.7 trillion from the prior quarter, accounting for more than 75% of the total U.S net worth increase. The U.S personal saving rate — the total household income after taxes that isn’t spent surged in the second quarter to 26%, up from just 9.6% in the first quarter, as millions of Americans deposited their stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment checks.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced new, internally-produced batteries for its electric cars and plans to build a $25,000 electric car by 2023, fulfilling an elusive long-term objective to sell a cheap self-driving electric car and to turn the company into the world’s largest automaker. The car would be much cheaper than any other Tesla car. Currently, Tesla’s cheapest model is Tesla 3 that made its debut in February 2019, which was priced $35,000. The company also announced that it’s planning to produce 100 gigawatt-hours of its own battery cells in 2022, and three terawatt-hours of cells per year by 2030. It allows us to make a lot more cars and more stationary storage, Elon Musk said.
According to the National Association of Realtors, existing homes sales rose 2.4% in August, marking the third straight monthly gain after big consecutive declines in March, April, and May. Sales were 10.5% increase from the year before and hit the highest level since December 2006, before the financial crisis. Home sales climbed in every region. NAR said that there were 1.49 million homes for sale in August, a decline of 18.6% from this time last year. The median price for all housing types was $310,600 in August, an annual increase of 11.4% from a year ago when the median price was $278,800 — this marks 102 straight months of year-over-year gains. The housing market appears to be in a ‘V’-shaped recovery, said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.
NASA released new details of its Artemis project to land astronauts on the moon’s south pole in 2024. The cost of the program is expected to be nearly $28 billion, which would cover the budgetary years of 2021–25. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said $16.2 billion is budgeted for “initial human landing system, $7.6 billion for the space launch system rockets, $1.2 billion is for exploration technologies and some $518 million is budgeted for lunar suits. However, the congress will have to sign off on the financing for a project that has been set by US President Donald Trump as a top priority, said Jim Bridenstine. If the mission is successful, then it would mark mankind’s first landing on the lunar surface since 1972.
A new Stanford University study found that only 10% of Americans developed covid antibodies — shows the vast majority still have not developed an immune response to the virus. The study was conducted on more than 28,000 dialysis patients from around the country. According to the CDC, more than 90% of U.S. adults remain susceptible to the virus. Julie Parsonnet, a professor of medicine at Stanford University said that the study shows that despite high rates of Covid-19 in the U.S, the number of people with antibodies is still low and we haven’t come close to achieving herd immunity.