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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Economic data awaited

The fear surrounding the coronavirus outbreak stems in part from the tragic human toll: Tens of thousands of people sickened around the world with roughly 3,500 people dead. There is also mounting economic anxiety. Though recent data haven’t shown many signs of damage to the U.S. or global economies, analysts expect the evidence to surface in coming weeks. So which barometers are they monitoring most closely? One gauge to watch for is the government’s weekly report on the number of people applying for unemployment benefits. Only people who are laid off from work are eligible

for such aid, so the figures can show whether job cuts are rising. Should the pace of layoffs jump, it would signal that the economy may be on the verge of a slowdown. So far, weekly unemployment applications remain near multi-decade lows. On Thursday, the government said that just 216,000 people applied for benefits in the week that ended Feb. 29th — a historically low number that fell 3,000 from the previous week. Few companies have yet announced widespread layoffs stemming from the coronavirus. And if the virus remains contained, job losses could stay low

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