Key Highlights

  • More than 857,000 workers filed new claims for state unemployment insurance benefits, according to the Labor Department
  • On seasonally adjusted basis, total was 884,000
  • 839,000 new claims filed under federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program

America’s job market didn’t look less treacherous to jobless workers at the end of August 22 than it did when the country began emerging from COVID lockdowns some four months ago.

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New data from the Department of Labor indicated that more than 857,000 jobless workers filed new claims for state unemployment insurance benefits during the week ending August 22. On a seasonally adjusted basis, this represented 884,000 new insurance benefits claims.

On top of this “regular” unemployment claim filing, approximately 839,000 new claims were filed under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, a substantial rise from 748,000 filed the week ending August 15. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, a new federal relief package created in response to the COVID pandemic, was designed specifically for self employed, independent contractors, free-lancers, gig workers and part-time workers negatively impacted by the pandemic.

From August 8 to August 22, the total number of workers collecting benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program has risen from under 11M to 14.6M people.

Diane Swonk, chief economist with Grant Thornton in Chicago, said, “It’s a gut punch to see these numbers every Thursday with no improvement. The numbers are going in the wrong direction. Michael Gapen, chief US economist with Barclays, seconded Swonk’s words by saying that the latest unemployment numbers “…are part of a transition to a slower pace of recovery, and one that will be more uneven.”

All together, there were approximately 30M jobless workers receiving some form of unemployment benefits in the week ending August 22.

One of those now jobless workers, Joe Braxton, told The New York Times, “I feel like I’m being punished by the pandemic, and it’s not even my fault.”

Thanks to The New York Times.

Also read: Agents: How-To-Apply For Unemployment, New Weekly Unemployment Claims Dip Below 1M for First Time in Five Months, Staggering: 30M+ Unemployed in 6 Weeks