This is breaking news. Please check back here for updates. First-time claims for unemployment insurance continued a modest trend down last week, though the total remains well above what was considered normal prior to the coronavirus pandemic and was a touch higher than Wall Street estimates.The Labor Department reported Thursday that 751,000 U.S. workers filed for benefits, compared to 758,000 from the week before. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting 741,000. This was the third straight week that claims were below 800,000, and the four-week moving average fell to 787,000.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – At the same time, the total for those receiving benefits showed a sharp decline, falling by 1.15 million to 21.5 million. For the same period in 2019, there were 1.44 million people getting benefits, reflecting just how deep the jobless problem remains in the coronavirus pandemic era.The insured unemployment rate, which is a simple computation of those receiving benefits against the total workforce, fell 0.3 percentage points to 5%. The headline unemployment rate, which includes multiple other factors, is expected to edge lower to 7.7% from the 7.9% level in September.Illinois saw the biggest weekly increase in claims, climbing 23,200 to 53,138, according to unadjusted data. Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania all reported gains of more than 3,000. Massachusetts reported the biggest decline at 9,055 while Florida, Georgia and Michigan also reported substantial decreases.- Advertisement – The numbers come a day before the government’s official nonfarm payrolls report, which is expected to show a gain of 530,000 in October. However, this week’s report is not part of the survey week the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses to compute the monthly number.Claims have been trending lower since the late-March peak of 6.9 million but remain elevated by historical standards. The pre-pandemic peak was 695,000 in October 1982.Continuing claims fell for the sixth straight week, this time by 538,000 to nearly 7.3 million. However, part of the reason for that was the continued migration from those losing benefits into the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance program, which saw its rolls increase by 277,564 to 3.96 million. Continuing claims are delayed by a week.- Advertisement –
In its effort to help bridge the digital divide, the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) has announced significant reductions in the cost of its residential Internet service rates for its Gold and Silver customers, effective from January 1, 2017.GTT Head officeGold has been reduced by 36 per cent to $9599, while the Silver is down 16 per cent to $8399.According to a statement from GTT, these reductions are evident of the company’s commitment to continue offering its Internet service to customers, with significantly more value on its plans, even as the company focuses on pushing faster and more reliable broadband services into homes and businesses.These higher tiers enable users to stream, surf and download faster at speeds up to 10 megabytes per second. The Bronze service, ideal for casual surfing such as the use of email services, is up now to $5999.GTT is guaranteeing customers that these prices will remain unchanged when the new Value Added Tax (VAT) regime comes into effect.“We are committed to bringing more affordable Internet to our customers and excited tocontinue to bridge Guyana’s digital divide. This is just the first in a number of exciting changes that GTT will be offering its customers in 2017, with significant speed and service quality upgrades on the horizon,” the company stated.The telephone giant launched the Internet plans back in April 2016, offering 10 megabytes per second (MBPS) Internet speeds, five times faster than what was previously offered and with no extra cost to its customers.Then Chief Executive Officer Radha Krishna Sharma had explained that the Internet service would be sold in bronze, silver and gold packages within the range of 1MBPS to 10MBPS. Bronze package subscribers paid the usual $4999 monthly.Silver package customers paid $9980 but with improved speeds of up to 5MBPS, while Gold package subscribers had up to 10MBPS, at $14,979 per month.While the cost is reduced on residential Internet services, only recently Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Justin Nedd told media operatives that with the introduction of VAT on broadband Internet service and data plans sold to mobile and corporate customers, the company would incur an additional expense in the vicinity of US$6 million (G$1.2 billion).Nedd pointed out that GTT already forked over more than half of its earnings to taxes and pointed to a 45 per cent Corporate Tax.