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WASHINGTON (AFP) – New claims for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits edged higher last week from the previous period, the Labor Department said Thursday, but held to the downward trendline.

Initial jobless claims totaled 333,000 in the week ending August 3, up from 328,000 the previous week.

But the four-week moving average continued to push lower, to 335,000, compared to nearly 370,000 per week a year earlier.

On Friday the government reported that the overall unemployment rate fell in July to 7.4 percent, on tepid job creation of 162,000 net new positions, as rising dropouts from the workforce continued to shape the jobless rate.

Photo Credit: AFP/Alex Wong

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, left, and former President Donald Trump.

Photo by Kevin McCarthy (Public domain)

In the professional stratum of politics, few verities are treated with more reverence than the outcome of next year's midterm, when the Republican Party is deemed certain to recapture majorities in the House and Senate. With weary wisdom, any pol or pundit will cite the long string of elections that buttress this prediction.

Political history also tells us that many factors can influence an electoral result, including a national crisis or a change in economic conditions — in other words, things can change and even midterm elections are not entirely foretold. There have been a few exceptions to this rule, too.

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