WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dipped last week to a still-high 840,000, evidence that layoffs remain elevated seven months into the pandemic recession.

Yet economists say they are increasingly dubious about the unemployment claims figures, even though there is little doubt that hiring has slowed and employers have continued to lay off workers.

One reason layoffs remain high is that companies often hold on to workers when a recession begins, if they can, in hopes of outlasting the downturn. Yet if the recession drags on, many will eventually give up and cut jobs.


“Some of these new layoffs are coming from firms that didn’t want or didn’t have to lay people off at first,” said Constance Hunter, chief economist at KPMG. Now, “they have no choice but to start reducing their workforce.”

Consider Luke McCann. He had hoped through September that business would finally pick

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The Walt Disney Company has reached an agreement to avoid layoffs of its full-time union cast members, according to a letter Wednesday by the Service Trades Council Union, which represents approximately 43,000 of the company’s employees.

A view of Cinderella Castle from Seven Seas Lagoon in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. The Walt Disney Co. announced Tuesday that it is planning to lay off 28,000 workers in its theme parks

The agreement comes a week after Disney’s Josh D’Amaro announced the company would be laying off approximately 28,000 employees across its Parks, Experiences and Products segment due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

DISNEY’S BOB IGER LEAVES CALIFORNIA CORONAVIURS TASK FORCE AS PARKS REMAIN IDLE

“On September 29, 2020, Disney notified the STCU that they

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In a video to employees Monday, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly announced that the airline will need to “sacrifice more” by undergoing pay cuts in an effort to avoid layoffs and furloughs through 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic’s ongoing impact on travel demand.

The announcement comes as the airline industry has been pleading for an extension of the payroll support program allotted under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which Congress passed in March following the expiration of the $25 billion bailout on Oct.1.

Kelly noted that since the act’s  Payroll Support Program (PSP) has expired, that Southwest “simply cannot afford to continue with the conditions required to maintain full pay and employment,” Kelly said.

Applauding his employees, stating they “all have performed magnificently” and called them

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US oil and gas giant ExxonMobil announced Monday it would slash 1,600 jobs in Europe, more than 11 percent of its workforce in the region, as it struggles with the hit from the coronavirus downturn.

“The impact of Covid-19 on the demand for ExxonMobil’s products has increased the urgency of the ongoing efficiency work,” the Texas-based company, said in a statement.

The company said the job cuts would happen by the end of next year but did not any additional details saying only that “Country-specific impacts will depend on the company’s local business footprint and market conditions.”

Facing decreased demand for crude caused by the coronavirus pandemic as well as the growing shift to green energy, ExxonMobil has seen its share value on Wall Street plummet by more than half this year.

Last week, the company was briefly overtaken in market capitalization by NextEra Energy, a green-era power company which

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — At least a quarter of the 28,000 layoffs planned for Disney’s parks division will come from Florida, according to a letter the company filed with state and local officials last week.



FILE - In this March 13, 2020 file photo, visitors take photos at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., the last day the park was open due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Theme park industry leaders in California say they aren't pleased with proposed reopening guidance being considered by Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration. Erin Guerrero, executive director of the California Attractions and Parks Association, said amusement park leaders wanted changes to a draft they reviewed on Thursday, Oct. 1 and asked Newsom to continue conversations with industry leaders before finalizing the rules. (AP Photo/Amy Taxin, File)


© Provided by Associated Press
FILE – In this March 13, 2020 file photo, visitors take photos at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., the last day the park was open due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Theme park industry leaders in California say they aren’t pleased with proposed reopening guidance being considered by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration. Erin Guerrero, executive director of the California Attractions and Parks Association, said amusement park leaders wanted changes to a draft they reviewed on Thursday, Oct. 1 and asked Newsom to continue conversations with industry leaders before finalizing the rules. (AP Photo/Amy Taxin, File)

The letter said that at least 6,390 nonunion Disney employees in Florida will be laid off starting

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — At least a quarter of the 28,000 layoffs planned for Disney’s parks division will come from Florida, according to a letter the company filed with state and local officials last week.

The letter said that at least 6,390 nonunion Disney employees in Florida will be laid off starting in early December. The number of Florida layoffs, though, could grow as the company negotiates terms with a coalition of unions that represents 43,000 employees at Walt Disney World.

“Due to the continuing business impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made the very difficult decision to reduce our workforce,” Jim Bowden, a Disney vice president of employee relations said in the letter.

Disney officials said last week that two-thirds of the planned layoffs involve part-time workers and they ranged from salaried employees to hourly workers.

Disney’s parks closed last spring as the pandemic started spreading in the

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In Massachusetts, more than 24,500 individuals filed new unemployment claims, up about 1,800 from the previous week. Nearly 11,000 more sought benefits under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides aid for gig workers, independent contractors, and others who are not eligible for standard state unemployment.

There were about 320,200 people getting Massachusetts benefits last week, a drop of 9.6 percent.

Overall jobless aid has shrunk in recent weeks even as roughly 25 million people rely upon it. The loss of that income is likely to weaken spending and the economy in the coming months.

A $600-a-week federal check that Congress provided in last spring’s economic aid package was available to the unemployed in addition to each state’s jobless benefit. But the $600 benefit expired at the end of July. A $300 weekly benefit that President Donald Trump offered through an executive order lasted only through mid-September, although some

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The American economy is being buffeted by a fresh round of corporate layoffs, signaling new anxiety about the course of the coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty about further legislative relief.

Companies including Disney, the insurance giant Allstate and two major airlines announced plans to fire or furlough more than 60,000 workers in recent days, and more cuts are expected without a new federal aid package to stimulate the economy.

With the election a month away, an agreement has proved elusive. The White House and congressional Democrats held talks on Thursday before the House narrowly approved a $2.2 trillion proposal without any Republican support. It was little more than a symbolic vote: The measure will not become law without a bipartisan deal.

After business shutdowns in the early spring threw 22 million people out of work, the economy rebounded in May and June with the help of stimulus money and rock-bottom interest

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The U.S. economy is slowly recovering from a deep coronavirus-induced recession that began in February, but workers continue to be furloughed – even at some of the country’s largest and most profitable companies.

Last week 837,000 Americans filed unemployment claims, the Labor Department announced on Thursday.

The U.S. economy lost 22 million jobs at the outset of the pandemic – only about half of which have been recovered so far.

But economists caution that as long as the virus – and related restrictions – prevail, the U.S. will continue to combat economic difficulties.

“As long as the pandemic is on, the economy is going to struggle,” Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo during an interview on Thursday.

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But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threw cold water on the possibility that a breakthrough could earn support from his members, who remain resistant to a package costing more than $1 trillion. McConnell said the sides remain “very, very far apart.” 

Pelosi on Wednesday agreed to postpone voting on a $2.2 trillion bill to continue talks with Mnuchin in hopes of a last-minute breakthrough. Mnuchin countered with a $1.62 trillion proposal, “offering more state and local assistance than GOP negotiators have to date in a sign of potential progress toward a deal,” Roll Call’s Lindsey McPherson reports. 

Per McPherson, “A person briefed on Mnuchin’s plan said it included $250 billion for state and local governments, which is $186 billion less than Democrats want in their latest $2.2 trillion package, but $100 billion more than the White House offered in talks that broke down over the summer.” The Treasury

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