America has started its economic recovery process, reopening businesses in phases across the nation, and the labor market numbers are beginning to reflect that. Per a Thursday release from the Department of Labor, the number of people drawing unemployment benefits for the week ending May 30 fell to 20.9 million, down from 21.3 million the previous week. New applications for unemployment benefits also dipped, from 1.9 million the week ending May 30 to 1.5 million last week. For context, the week ending March 28 saw almost 7 million new applications, per the Wall Street Journal. The jobless rate fell to 13.3% last month, down from 14.7 in April, and 2.5 million jobs were added in May.
"The decline in continuing claims affirms what we saw in last Friday's jobs report: The labor market recovery appears to be underway," a senior economist at Glassdoor tells Fox Business. But things on the job front are still far from normal, and the conversation around these numbers is "at the heart of discussions" around a possible new stimulus bill, which Democrats and Republicans remain at odds on, per the Journal. MarketWatch notes the extra $600 a week that the unemployed are receiving in their benefits as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act will end on July 31 unless lawmakers extend it, but GOPers fear the extra money will keep people from getting back to work. Dems, on the other hand, say the extra cash infusion will keep people from going under if businesses don't pick up as quickly as hoped. (Meanwhile, fears of a "second wave" is sinking the stock market.)