America’s job machine is stuck in neutral. And that’s a worrying sign
The number of Americans signing up for first-time unemployment benefits – a gauge of layoffs – surged to 464,000 last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That was higher than a consensus of economists expected and slightly above the average for the year.
With first-time claims staying stubbornly high, it’s unlikely that unemployment will come down quickly. If unemployed Americans don’t return to work, they can’t spend, which slows the recovery.
There’s an outside chance that it stops recovery altogether.