In the United States, the recovery in employment is hesitant

Hundreds of people wait outside a career center to register as unemployed in Frankfort, Kentucky, United States, on June 18.

Announced several times by US President Donald Trump, the expected economic recovery seems to be marking time in the face of the new outbreak of the pandemic linked to Covid-19 in the United States. Thursday, July 23, for the first time since early April, weekly unemployment figures rose again, with 1.4 million additional job seekers registered between July 12 and 18. The previous week, 1.3 million people had already joined the ranks of the unemployed, whose number now stands at 16.2 million. In total, if we take into account the self-employed but also compensated, some 30 million people have requested assistance, or one fifth of American workers.

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The number of contaminations and deaths which, for three weeks, reached record levels in several states in the south and west of the country, forced some regions to new restrictions and closings of businesses. This resurgence of the health crisis – 4 million people infected and 143,800 dead, according to Johns Hopkins University – again slows down hiring, while the months of May and June, marked by a rapid reopening of the economy in several States, had seen the creation of 7.5 million jobs.

The slowdown comes as aid released during the first $ 2 trillion support plan adopted in March comes to an end on July 31. They have enabled job seekers to receive $ 600 a week, providing some workers with more than their initial wages. In the absence of a new support plan, these millions of workers will join the general unemployment insurance scheme, which is less generous (350 dollars per week on average) and whose conditions vary greatly from one state to another.

Extend aid

To avoid a major social crisis, there are only a few days left for the US Congress to agree on a second massive support plan for the economy. But the proposals, fiercely discussed for several weeks, had still not made it possible to reach, Thursday, a consensus between Republicans and Democrats.

“We are not going to pay more to stay at home than to work”, Steven Mnuchin, US Secretary of the Treasury

The latter want to renew aid to the unemployed as it exists until the end of the year, while the Republicans want to reduce it, more or less drastically. Extending aid is ” a priority “, assured Thursday the Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, on the CNBC channel. The government is considering compensation equivalent to “About 70%” of wages earned before unemployment: “We are not going to pay more to stay at home than to work”, did he declare. A statement at odds with the proposal of the Republicans in Congress, whose plan provides for aid corresponding to 100% of pre-pandemic income. Beyond traditional partisan differences, discussions have also been slowed by Mr. Trump’s demand to tie the new plan to a cut in payroll taxes for employers, a move rejected by both Democrats and Republicans. The president finally gave it up on Thursday.

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