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New report reveals unemployment claims have fallen to 751,000

4 weeks 2 days 21 minutes ago Thursday, October 29 2020 Oct 29, 2020 October 29, 2020 8:22 AM October 29, 2020 in News
Source: CNN

Some 751,000 Americans filed first-time unemployment benefits last week, the Department of Labor said Thursday in its final report before the presidential election.

CNN reports that the new figures reveal a 40,000 fall from last week's numbers and apparently reflect seasonal adjustments.

Unemployment claims have been trending downward in recent months, but are still considerably higher than they were before the pandemic.

According to CNN, just under 360,000 people filed initial claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which Congress created as part of its $2 trillion coronavirus relief package to provide assistance to those not typically eligible for benefits, such as gig workers and the self-employed. That's up nearly 15,000 from the week before.

Together, initial applications for benefits totaled to nearly 1.1 million last week without seasonal adjustments.

Continued jobless claims -- which count people who have applied for benefits for at least two weeks in a row -- stood at 7.8 million, which is down 709,000 from the prior week's revised level, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Despite the declining figures, long-term unemployment appears to be surging as the national recovery softens. 

CNN reports that a growing number of people have been unable to find new jobs and are exhausting the regular state benefits, which typically last 26 weeks.

As of Oct. 10, about 3.7 million people were collecting pandemic benefits from the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which Congress created in March to provide the jobless with an additional 13 weeks of benefits.

That's up more than 387,000 from the week before.

Additionally, another nearly 401,000 Americans were receiving extended benefits, which provide payments for up to an additional 20 weeks depending on the state. The federal government is fully funding this program during the pandemic, instead of asking states to contribute half.

That extended benefits figure is down 44,200 from the prior week. Some states have been ending their extended benefits program as their unemployment rates improve.

According to CNN, those longer-term benefits will not be around much longer because the pandemic extension of payments and the program for gig workers/self-employed individuals, is set to expire at the end of the year. 

At that time, the federal government is set to stop picking up half the cost of extended benefits.

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