Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Washington (AFP) — New claims for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits tumbled to an eight-year low last week, pointing to a firming labor market, according to official data released Thursday.

Initial jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, totaled 284,000 in the week ending July 19, down 19,000 from the prior week, the Labor Department said.

That was the lowest level of initial claims since mid-February 2006. Analysts had expected first-time claims to rise to 308,000 last week.

The department revised the previous week’s level up by 1,000 to 303,000.

The four-week moving average fell by 7,250 to 302,000 claims, the lowest level since mid-May 2007 and down from 344,750 a year ago.

The report gave further evidence of improvement in the labor market amid steady job growth that pushed the unemployment rate down to 6.1 percent in June, from 7.5 percent a year earlier.

AFP Photo/Scott Olson

Interested in economic news? Sign up for our daily email newsletter!

Democratic nominee Joe Biden speaking in Manitowoc, WI

Screenshot

Today in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Joe Biden spoke about the toll of coronavirus, which has now officially passed 200,000. "What worries me now is we've been living with this pandemic for so long, I worry we're risking becoming numb to the toll that it's taken on us," the Democratic nominee warned. "We can't let that happen."

How did that happen? How did America lose 200,000 people to a horrendous death, with no end in sight? That tragedy can be traced directly to a vacuum of leadership in the White House, as Biden remarked. But he also saw behind that lack of presidential fortitude to its deeper cause: Donald Trump simply never cared how many of us die and he still doesn't. The evidence is in Trump's own behavior at his "superspreader rallies" – where he always protects himself while leaving his own followers to risk illness and worse.

Watch Biden describe the moral emptiness inside this president.