USA unemployment claims surged by 2.4 mn last week

Cornelia Mascio
Mag 23, 2020

"Additionally, we are close to launching our third and final federal program, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which will be available to South Carolinians who exhaust their 20 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits and are still unemployed", said Dan Ellzey, executive director of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

Last week, the GDOL issued over $55 million in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments to individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors, employees of churches, employees of non-profits, or those with limited work history who do not qualify for state unemployment benefits.

Only California and NY had more new claims filed last week.

If an applicant is in the middle of receiving normal unemployment relief, then they will not receive relief under a PEUC claim.

The state's labor department said April's seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate of 14.7% was a spike of 11.4% when compared to March's unemployment rate of 3.3%.

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 number of regular initial claims fell again week-over-week - down from 22,483 for the week ending May 9.

"The U.S.is in a race for time: The longer it takes to fully reopen, the more likely that millions of seemingly temporary job losses become permanent", MarketWatch said.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission announced that it will extend benefits for eligible Oklahomans beginning Wednesday.

The state reported 138,733 initial regular unemployment claims in the week ended May 16 in its own release, up 29,308 from the previous week, and an increase of almost 370,000 in total claims for all unemployment benefit categories from the prior week. Economists are monitoring the number of Americans already on benefit rolls to gauge the breadth of the recovery in the labor market as states begin to reopen their economies. They were up by 1,332,941 claims or 6,353% from April 2019.

Both states on Thursday released figures on initial filings for unemployment benefits. 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.

Errors and differing state reporting methods aside, some economists are looking to the raw numbers for a more accurate read on applications amid challenges with the federal agency's seasonal adjustment process.

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