Initial jobless claims were down last week over the previous week, dropping from 1.9 million to 1.54 million initial jobless claims. Applications for unemployment insurance peaked in late March and have fallen steadily since that time. With much of the country starting to reopen, continuing claims dropped less than expected last week, moving from 22 million to 20.9 million. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell expressed concern Wednesday over how long some may remain unemployed. “My assumption is that there will be a significant chunk, well, well into the millions of people who don’t get to go back to their old jobs and there may not be a job in that industry for them for some time,” Powell said. “It could be some years before we get back to those people finding jobs.”
The market took a sharp fall Thursday, marking the worst decline in three months after weeks of steady growth. The S&P 500 dropped about 6 percent and the Dow Jones fell about 7 percent. It had opened more than 800 points down Thursday as investors digested the Fed’s gloomy outlook, coupled with a disturbing rise in coronavirus cases. Infections have surpassed 2 million and the number of deaths has reached more than 112,000. The weekly average number of cases is still rising in 20 states, causing concern about a second wave.