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1.5 million file for unemployment a week after Trump took victory lap on jobs

Trump recently declared that the economy had experienced ‘the greatest comeback in American history.’

By Emily Singer - June 11, 2020
Donald Trump

More than 1.5 million more workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Department of Labor announced on Thursday.

The number of claims filed is the lowest since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when job losses skyrocketed as governors announced stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the virus.

But it’s much higher than normal levels. During the same week last year, 220,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits, according to the Department of Labor.

The news comes less than a week after Donald Trump took a victory lap during a speech from the White House Rose Garden, declaring after a better-than-expected jobs report that the economy was like a “rocket ship.”

“Today is probably, if you think of it, the greatest comeback in American history,” Trump said on June 5.

However, economists have said they do not expect all of the jobs lost in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to immediately return.

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that there will be a “significant chunk” of jobless Americans “who don’t get to go back to their old job, and there may not be a job in that industry for them for some time.”

Powell said that number could be “well into the millions.”

Thursday’s data, as well as Powell’s prediction, could prove to be perilous for Trump’s reelection hopes — which are looking grim as polls show him trailing presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Democrats are hammering Trump for taking a premature victory lap, as well as calling out Republican lawmakers who are so far refusing to pass any more coronavirus relief for workers.

The number of Americans who lost their jobs and filed for unemployment **last week** was more than twice as high as the worst week of the Great Recession,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) tweeted Thursday. “The economic situation remains bleak, and Senate Republicans are blocking further efforts to help American workers.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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