Only 24 hours into the office and US President Joe Biden witnessed the Labour Department stating 900,000 new filings for unemployment benefits from the last week. A COVID-19 marred American economy, remains far from healed, AFP reports as the unemployment rate remains at 6.7%.

The Labour Department confirmed the outrageous numbers on Thursday, a day after the United States had seen a grand Presidential Inauguration Day at the Capitol. The seasonally adjusted figure for the week ended January 16 was worse than expected and just 26,000 less than the previous week’s downwardly revised level, AFP added.

However, Joe Biden – who accompanied Barack Obama in facing the similar problem in 2008-2010 – would see this a much better position than the ‘Great Recession’ period. Adding to the toll were 423,734 new filings made under a program for self-employed people not normally eligible for benefits, while as of the week of January 2, the Labor Department said nearly 16 million people were receiving some form of aid from the government — a figure that’s expected to rise.

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The unemployment rate that has seen a significant fall from the 14.7% in April, 2020 still stands firm at 6.7%, AFP reports. Joe Biden had proposed a $1.9 trillion spending measure to revitalize the economy as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout covers the country.

“Fiscal stimulus prospects, along with broader vaccine diffusion, are pointing to a brightening labor market outlook but with the pandemic still raging, claims are poised to remain elevated in the near-term,” Lydia Boussour of Oxford Economics warned the country is in for rough times to come.

“Layoffs are ongoing at an elevated pace, reflecting the impact of containment measures,” Rubeela Farooqi of High Frequency Economics said in an analysis.

“Conditions are unlikely to improve until infections can be curbed, and the economy can reopen more completely.”

New jobless filings skyrocketed after states and cities restricted business across the US when COVID-19 broke out in March, and though they’ve come down from the millions reported each week as businesses shed employees en masse, they remain at very high levels.