Unemployment benefit rises: a major step in the wrong direction


The Labor Department reported on Thursday that 965,000 people applied for unemployment benefits for the first time in the United States on a seasonally adjusted basis last week.
This was significantly higher than the previous week, with 784,000 Americans filing for unemployment benefits.
Weekly for the first time jobless claims are stuck at a high level. In late August, the figure went below 1 million, but since then, significant reforms have been hard to come by – and last week represented a major step in the wrong direction.
On top of regular claims, 284,470 workers filed claims for epidemic unemployment assistance. The program provides assistance to people such as self-employed or gig workers, who are not subject to regular benefits. The program was scaled up after a new stimulus deal, now ending in March.

Added together, initial profit claims totaled 1.4 million last week, excluding seasonal adjustments.

Continuing claims, which count workers claiming assistance for at least two weeks in the count, stood at 5.3 million in the week ended 2 January.

This is a developing story. It will be updated

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