MASON CITY, Iowa - Last week's initial unemployment claims were higher than expected, coming in at 1.5 million. Experts were thinking it would be closer to 1.3 million.
"It was a surprise to me. Having it that high, a million and a half new claims," said Rayce Hardy, economics instructor at Riverland Community College. He didn't think the numbers would be that high. He thinks companies aren't pulling in enough profits from the slow reopening.
"It seems that companies that figured out with the reopening maybe had hopes that things were going to go well for them and it wasn't quite enough for them to be able to make it," said Hardy.
According to Hardy, the real measure of how the economy is faring is in the continuing unemployment claims, which is right around 20 million people right now. He says the unemployment stimulus might be keeping job seekers at home.
"Some of those are just people saying, 'Hey, if i can get the extra 600 bucks until July 31st, I'm not going to work that hard at getting a job.'"
As more businesses begin to open their doors, people how are living paycheck to paycheck might be more careful when it comes to opening their wallets. Hardy says less spending means less jobs.
"There are some people where that might have been a wakeup call that, 'Hey, I better be real careful with my future expenditures here and maybe not make a big purchase.'"
Belva Payton from Thornton is aware of the economic woes of the country. She agrees the economy is still struggling to get back up to speed.
"There's a lot of restaurants and things that still aren't open. The ethanol plant - my husband hauls corn to the ethanol plant and that's just reopened again so it doesn't surprise me," said Payton.