Another 870,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week

America's recovery from the pandemic continues to slow. That was...

Posted: Sep 24, 2020 2:43 PM

America's recovery from the pandemic continues to slow. That was visible again in the Labor Department's weekly jobless claims report Thursday.

Another 870,000 workers filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits on a seasonally adjusted basis last week. That was up very slightly from the previous week.

Over the past weeks, initial claims have improved very little. Six months into this crisis, weekly claims are about four times higher than they were before businesses went into lockdown in March.

"The jobless claims data paint a picture of a labor market recovery that's struggling to maintain momentum," said Nancy Vanden Houten, lead US economist at Oxford Economics.

Continued jobless claims -- counting workers who have filed for benefits for at least two consecutive weeks -- stood at 12.6 million on a seasonally adjusted basis, down a bit from the prior week.

But many Americans also filed for benefits under the government's other programs, such as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which Congress created in the wake of the crisis to help those not eligible for regular jobless benefits including the self-employed.

Another 630,080 Americans filed for PUA benefits last week.

Adding PUA claims and unadjusted regular first-time claims together, nearly 1.5 million people applied for government benefits last week.

As of September 5, 26 million Americans received some form of benefits from the government. On the bright side, that number is down 3.7 million from late August.

But unfortunately, the complexities of joblessness during the crisis mean it's just not that simple. The number of people in the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program -- those are workers who have exhausted their state benefit programs -- has increased, for example.

It's once again hammering home that this jobless crisis isn't over even as the economy is chugging along on its long path to recovery.

Combating fraud

While so many are still struggling to make ends meet, there are new hurdles to overcome: California's unemployment agency took the unusual step of halting the acceptance of new claims for two weeks starting last week. The state is looking to address a spike in potentially fraudulent PUA claims and to reduce a backlog of unprocessed applications.

California saw a large increase in continuing pandemic claims at the end of August, and it has a backlog of nearly 600,000 Californians who applied for benefits more than three weeks ago whose claims haven't been processed yet.

The state will also implement a new identity verification process to combat fraud during the temporary halt. Its previous anti-fraud efforts led to a decline of more than 72% in PUA claims earlier this month.

Since mid-March, California's unemployment agency has processed more than 13 million claims and paid out more than $86 billion in unemployment benefits.

That number of claims California has processed over the last six months is more than triple the worst full year of the Great Recession.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 300913

Reported Deaths: 5332
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion41330845
Lake26364448
Allen17299290
Elkhart16665212
St. Joseph16319220
Hamilton12459164
Vanderburgh9428112
Tippecanoe826727
Porter791279
Johnson6139164
Hendricks5807154
Vigo574474
Monroe525247
Clark495374
Delaware4789103
Madison4760119
LaPorte446894
Kosciusko446139
Howard325575
Warrick316072
Floyd306177
Bartholomew303262
Wayne295261
Cass293431
Marshall289944
Grant258747
Noble246846
Hancock243749
Henry237136
Boone235154
Dubois230430
Dearborn208829
Jackson206033
Morgan200643
Knox178017
Gibson177022
Clinton174920
Shelby174554
Lawrence171646
DeKalb171229
Adams165219
Miami155114
Wabash153018
Daviess152243
Fayette145233
Steuben141113
Jasper138311
Harrison137624
LaGrange136629
Montgomery131226
Whitley129910
Ripley123714
Decatur123542
Huntington122310
Posey118913
Putnam118326
Wells118327
Randolph117819
White117421
Clay115621
Jefferson114214
Greene100253
Scott99818
Jay95012
Starke89221
Sullivan86615
Fulton81117
Perry80921
Jennings80514
Spencer8047
Fountain7378
Washington7176
Carroll66813
Franklin65925
Orange65728
Vermillion5832
Owen5816
Parke5416
Newton54012
Tipton53726
Rush5216
Blackford51211
Pike50218
Pulaski36810
Martin3485
Brown3263
Benton3251
Crawford2781
Union2621
Switzerland2473
Warren2352
Ohio2257
Unassigned0265

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 363304

Reported Deaths: 6020
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin49267665
Cuyahoga35214736
Hamilton29462371
Montgomery19636225
Butler14472144
Lucas14033409
Summit12962310
Stark8529197
Warren798975
Mahoning7068299
Lake662766
Lorain623697
Clermont563946
Delaware540335
Licking535875
Fairfield523763
Trumbull5159144
Greene510563
Clark501064
Allen460685
Marion457751
Wood4394107
Medina428654
Miami416465
Pickaway396448
Columbiana339597
Portage334471
Tuscarawas317557
Wayne314993
Richland306732
Mercer284737
Ross239259
Hancock232736
Muskingum231910
Auglaize223230
Putnam221449
Erie217165
Darke217058
Ashtabula215753
Geauga197351
Scioto193615
Union18658
Lawrence185436
Shelby184815
Athens18454
Seneca173118
Belmont158529
Madison156218
Sandusky152327
Preble148421
Huron147518
Defiance137921
Holmes137739
Logan123613
Knox122518
Fulton122025
Crawford119116
Ottawa118930
Washington116427
Clinton103414
Ashland102722
Williams10238
Jefferson10124
Highland99517
Henry98422
Brown9644
Champaign9345
Jackson90312
Van Wert8976
Fayette89217
Hardin86118
Morrow8552
Guernsey83313
Coshocton81413
Perry77012
Adams75012
Pike7261
Wyandot70516
Gallia70413
Paulding62710
Hocking61011
Noble59722
Carroll44310
Meigs37612
Monroe31021
Morgan2395
Vinton2105
Harrison1913
Unassigned00
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