New Unemployment Claims On the Rise Again

Credit: Daniel A. Varela/The Miami Herald

New jobless claims far exceeded economist projections.

Since their absolute, multi-million height in April, new unemployment claims in the United States have been steadily declining over the last several months. Through the end of August and September, new weekly claims have finally fallen below one million. However, with the pandemic still raging and a new stimulus package continuously stalled out, it seems new claims are starting to increase once again.

For the week ending in October 10, economists surveyed by Dow Jones anticipated the total number of new claims for unemployment benefits to be approximately 830,000. The actual number was far higher, totaling approximately 898,000. This is the largest increase in new unemployment filings the country has seen since August, and a 53,000 increase from the previous week’s total of 845,000.

The total number of continuing unemployment claims has been steadily dropping, but it is still an alarmingly high number, currently averaging at approximately 11.48 million. The US economy has managed to restore about 11.4 million of the jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic, and the overall unemployment rate has fallen to 7.9%, though this rate is still more than double the unemployment rate of the pre-coronavirus economy.

Credit: Jesse Costa/WBUR

Claims specifically made for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which specifically offers adjusted unemployment benefits to those who would not normally be eligible, are also on a steady decline, currently numbering 372,981. Those on PUA accounted for about half of the total US citizens receiving benefits back in September.

Some states are experiencing problems gathering an accurate tally of unemployment claims. California, in particular, has temporarily paused its unemployment systems and ceased processing new claims in order to give themselves time to process the ones they currently have waiting, as well as improve their fraud-prevention infrastructure.

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