Jobless claims head higher: 898,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits

Americans filed another 898,000 first-time jobless claims last week on a seasonally-adjusted basis. That's up 53,000 from the prior week. CNN's Christine Romans reports.

Posted: Oct 15, 2020 6:00 PM
Updated: Oct 15, 2020 6:00 PM

For yet another week hundreds of thousands of American workers filed for unemployment benefits.

Americans filed another 898,000 first-time jobless claims last week on a seasonally-adjusted basis, according to the Department of Labor. That's more than economists had expected and up 53,000 from the prior week.

Weekly claims have fallen a long way since peaking at 6.9 million in late March. But the improvements have slowed to a snail's pace in recent weeks -- and went into reverse last week. That means it could take a long time to get back to the pre-pandemic level of around 200,000 claims per week.

On top of regular jobless claims, 372,891 Americans filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a program designed in response to the pandemic to help those not usually eligible for unemployment benefits such as the self-employed. That was down 91,000 claims from the prior week.

Adding those together, total first-time claims stood at about 1.3 million last week.

In California, the state is still not back to reporting its actual claims numbers. California paused processing so it deal with its large backlog and put additional fraud prevention measures in place.

Continued jobless claims, which count workers who have filed for benefits for more than two weeks in a row, stood at 10 million. That's down around 1.2 million from the prior week.

That sounds like good news, but economists worry continued claims might be declining because people have maxed out their benefit allowance. States provide up to 26 weeks of aid before workers move on to other government programs, such as the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

The number of workers receiving PEUC benefits climbed by more than 800,000, to 2.8 million in the week ended September 26. Overall, more than 25 million Americans received some form of government unemployment aid.

Billions spent on government aid

Millions of people remain reliant on government benefits to make ends meet. But that has gotten harder since the supplementary $600 weekly check that was part of the first stimulus deal ran out at the end of July.

Still, government spending on unemployment benefits went through the roof this year. It totaled nearly $472 billion in the fiscal year 2020, which ended on September 30, according to the Treasury Department. That's up exponentially from $28 billion the year before.

Another $27 billion was spent on President Donald Trump's Lost Wages Assistance program, which used disaster aid funding to provide another $300 a week to the unemployed for up to six weeks. Trump signed an executive order creating the program in August.

So far this month, $10.5 billion has been spent on unemployment benefits and nearly $4 billion in Lost Wages Assistance, according to Treasury Department data through October 13.

The massive rise in joblessness has drained states' unemployment benefits trust funds, forcing them turn to the federal government for loans.

Twenty states have borrowed more than $36.5 billion to cover their share of payments, which typically last 26 weeks, according to Treasury Department data.

California has run up a tab of $14 billion, while New York and Texas have taken out nearly $8.2 billion and $4.9 billion in loans, respectively. Virginia and Louisiana just began borrowing this month. The unemployed are guaranteed to receive their benefits, regardless of whether states have to borrow to pay them.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 59°
Angola
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 54°
Huntington
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 59°
Decatur
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 59°
Van Wert
Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 57°
Sunshine and warmer air return to round out the work week, but the warm-up is brief.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events