New jobless claims in Florida stabilize week to week

Marco Green
May 23, 2020

Counting the 1.1 million claims filed through the federal government's temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, new jobless claims totaled a much higher 3.3 million last week.

States reporting so far paid a total of 49 million weeks of unemployment insurance in April, up from 7.2 million in February - the equivalent of approximately 11.4 million people collecting benefits for the month.

Nearly 92,000 continued claims were filed last week for state unemployment, an increase of about 5,000 over the previous week.

Last month's increase for the unemployment rate was the largest on record, Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said.

The U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday another 2.4 million people filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, bringing total filings since mid-March to almost 39 million. The state saw about 116,000 claims for that program in the past week.

The number of initial unemployment claims has reached another all-time high, with April's total surpassing the number of claims reached in the past four years combined, officials said Thursday.

Washington state has had its own troubles.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission announced that it will extend benefits for eligible Oklahomans beginning Wednesday. On its website, the department said part of last week's spike in applications likely reflected an "increase in fraudulent claims". That's down from about 45,000 claims in the previous week.

Differences in how frequently people claim continued benefits in states are yet another reason why it's become more hard to get a precise read on week-to-week changes in the labor market at the state level.

"Net, net, the states may be opening back up, but the labor market is still closed for millions across America and the loss of the income and spending of those without jobs will be a considerable headwind for this economic recovery", said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank. Yet, total continuing claims jumped an adjusted 2.5 million to a record 25.1 million. The United States unemployment rate in April 2020 is 10.3 percentage points higher than March 2020. Since the pandemic began in March of this year, we have received 515,595 initial claims for unemployment and paid out more than $1.35 billion dollars. Backlogs have led to delays for millions of Americans across the country in receiving payments, as states scramble to keep up with the unprecedented number of claims. "But I think what's not being factored in is the impact on Main Street".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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