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Unemployment claims dip, draws lines for Dems and GOP

First time claims for unemployment benefits have dipped again this week. It marks the seventh straight week that unemployment claims have come down.

Jobless claims came in at 2.4 million this week after posting a high of 6.9 million in March. So far, 38.6 million people have lost jobs as a result of the COVID-19 recession.

The markets have rallied with easing unemployment numbers, cutting losses by around 50 percent. However, unemployment is still at record-breaking numbers, without precedent in American history.

Senate Republicans and House Democrats are fighting now about whether to extend COVID-based unemployment benefits past the expiration date at the end of July 2020. The latest numbers tend to bolster Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell’s case to end benefits when the existing law expires.

“The Senate majority leader told the House GOP minority in an afternoon phone call that he is comfortable waiting to see how the nearly $3 trillion in coronavirus spending previously approved plays out before moving forward on the next relief legislation,” reports Politico.

Mortgage delinquencies surged this month with another dubious record. 1.6 borrowers skipped mortgage payments in April. But that was expected.

Congress wrote the delinquencies into law under the COVID relief act.

“The CARES Act, passed in March,” says USAToday, “allows homeowners to suspend their mortgage payments for up to a year on federally-backed mortgages. But it doesn’t protect mortgages that aren’t backed by the government, which make up about half of all mortgages in the U.S.”

Miami, Las Vegas and New York City were the top cities hit by mortgage delinquencies, which show the economic hardship didn’t always fall even with COVID-cases.

Nevada and Florida rank 31st and 33rd respectively amongst COVID cases by population with 2,300 and 2,200 cases per million respectively. By contrast, New York ranks first with 18,724 cases per million.

As both parties wrestle for voters for the November tilt, expect more contrast from Republicans and Democrats about COVID relief.  Both sides are drawing lines about how the government should treat COVID going forward.

The GOP is counting on a “let’s get on with the show” attitude toward economic growth, opening businesses and getting people back to work. Democrats are looking to extend relief efforts claiming the economy is unsafe for workers.

“That’s a political divide,” Stuart Varney said on My Take, “It goes to the heart of how America recovers… To the left, the argument is: send ’em back to work, and you’ve got ‘blood on your hands.’  It is grossly unfair.”

Varney’s comments were in response to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) asking Trump Treasury Secretary Mnuchin: “How many workers should give their lives to increase our GDP by half a percent?”

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