Job market shows ‘very strong trends’, US labor secretary says

The job market shows “very strong trends” amid the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said on Thursday.

“What we saw was the initial claims, that is the initial filings for unemployment benefits of last week were reported at a number 110,000 fewer than the reported number just a week before. That’s progress,” Scalia told FOX Business’ “Cavuto Coast to Coast.”

Scalia said that “3 million people went off” of unemployment in the month of September. “What we also see is that the continuing claims — that is people who are actually on unemployment, that number continues to drop significantly week to week,” noted Scalia who added, “these are very good trends.”

Scalia’s comments came after the Labor Department released the latest jobless claims figures, which covers the week ending Oct. 17, showing that 787,000 workers sought assistance last week. The amount of Americans seeking jobless aid since the coronavirus shutdown was 65 million, making up 40% of the nation’s labor force.

Recipients of unemployment benefits dropped to 8.37 million.

The jobless claims fell below 800,000 for the first time since public officials shut down the nation’s economy due to the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March.

Furthermore, Scalia said that the “more significant report” has been the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly employment report. “That has shown the job market coming back so much more quickly than was being expected back in April,” Scalia said.

In his cabinet position for just over a year now, Scalia sees more encouraging data in the BLS Local Area Unemployment Statistics which lists 26 states “at 6.7% or below.”

Scalia went on to say while there are “a handful of very large states” with “much higher unemployment,” the jobs numbers show “a very, very strong trend” along with “good economic news” including today’s existing home sales report.