Unemployment claims rise for first time in months as coronavirus rages on

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Unemployment numbers rise again. Photo via CBS News

The number of Americans applying for jobless aid is increasing, marking the first rise in months, as the coronavirus spreads across the nation.

Some 1.4 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in the week ended July 18, adjusting for seasonal variations, the Labor Department said Thursday. It’s an increase from the prior week, when 1.3 million applied. Another 975,000 requested Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a new federal program for self-employed and gig workers. That figure increased by 20,000 from the week before.

The biggest increases were in Florida, Georgia, California, Washington and Indiana, states that have seen sharp increases in the number of COVID-19 cases.

This marks the 17th week in a row that total jobless claims have been above 2 million.

The latest string of layoffs is occurring just before a $600 weekly federal aid payment for the jobless is set to expire at the end of this week. Members of Congress are negotiating another aid package that might extend that benefit, although likely at a lower level of payment.

This is a developing story.

First published on July 23, 2020 / 8:55 AM

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