More signs of the recovery: Unemployment claims continue to trend down, GDP grows, and infrastructure deal in sight.

Underpinning the increase in state revenue projections is evidence that the economic recovery will continue strong. It’s not hard to find such evidence.

The White House and Congress appear to have reached agreement on a $1 trillion infrastructure package.

President Biden and a group of centrist senators agreed to a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure plan, securing a long-sought bipartisan dealon overhauling the nation’s transportation, water and broadband infrastructure that lawmakers and the White House will now attempt to shepherd through a closely-divided Capitol Hill.

As the AP reported earlier, the boost in infrastructure spending is expected to spur economic growth.

Washington is still debating the size and scope of any spending package, but economists and analysts expect an eventual deal that will help support a wide swath of industries tied to a national infrastructure overhaul.

“From an economic growth perspective, we see the infrastructure deal really boosting productivity,” said Ken Johnson, investment strategy analyst at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

Already, the nation’s economy is performing well.

The U.S. economy grew at a solid 6.4% rate in the first three months of this year, setting the stage for what economists are forecasting could be the strongest year for the economy in possibly seven decades.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that growth in the gross domestic product, the country’s total output of goods and services, was unchanged from two previous estimates. The gain represented an acceleration from growth at a 4.3% rate in the fourth quarter.

Economists believe GDP growth has accelerated even more in the current April-June quarter as increased vaccinations have allowed for more businesses to re-open and encouraged consumer to get out and spend.

Nationally, jobless claims continue to decline.

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits dropped last week, a sign that layoffs declined and the job market is improving.

The Labor Department said Thursday that jobless claims declined just 7,000 from the previous week to 411,000. The number of weekly applications for unemployment aid has fallen steadily this year from about 900,000 in January. The level of unemployment claims generally reflects the pace of layoffs.

Departing from the trend, claims in Washington increased last week, but overall remain far below pandemic levels.

During the week of June 13 – June 19, there were 7,544 initial regular unemployment claims (up 9.5 percent from the prior week) and 374,810 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 2.3 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).  

  • Initial regular claims applications are now 75 percent below weekly new claims applications during the same period last year during the pandemic.
  • The 4-week moving average for initial claims remains elevated at 8,347 (as compared to the 4-week moving average of initial claims pre-pandemic of 6,071 initial claims) and remains at similar levels of initial claims filed during the Great Recession.
  • Initial claims applications for regular benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) increased slightly over the week.
  • Initial claims applications for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and continued/ongoing claims for all benefits decreased over the week.
  • Increases in layoffs in Accommodation and Food Services and Educational Services contributed to the increase in regular initial claims last week.

Taken all together, the state and nation are emerging from the recession well.