Graham Kilmer

Unemployment Claims Below 1 Million Last Week

Though only by a little. 963,000 still filed new claims.

By - Aug 13th, 2020 08:31 pm
On March 19th, the downtown Milwaukee Punch Bowl Social laid off 91 employees. Photo by Jennifer Rick.

On March 19th, the downtown Milwaukee Punch Bowl Social laid off 91 employees. Photo by Jennifer Rick.

For the first time in five months the U.S. saw less than one million new unemployment claims filed over the past week.

However, before you jump for joy, the country still saw 963,000 new claims in a single week. That’s approximately three times the number of new claims the U.S. saw during the week before the COVID-19 pandemic caused mass layoffs.

There were nearly half a million new claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance during the past week. Added to regular unemployment claims, and more than one million Americans filed for some type of unemployment aid last week.

In the week since the last time Urban Milwaukee reported on new unemployment claims, Wisconsin has seen 15,453 claims filed.

Despite local economies reopening around the country, millions of people continue to rely on unemployment benefits to get through the pandemic. The $600 boost ended at the end of July, and the U.S. Senate has so far failed to enact another stimulus that will get money into the hands of people struggling to pay their bills. The body has now adjourned until September.

Meanwhile, here in Wisconsin, the unemployment system has proven wholly inadequate for responding to the unemployment crisis. Many have reported difficulty accessing unemployment insurance. And the Republicans that control the state legislature refuse to convene in order to loosen restrictions on unemployment or increasing funding for the processing of claims. Party leaders have advocated for Democratic Governor Tony Evers to use some of the state’s federal CARES Act funding allocation as a loan program.

As Urban Milwaukee reported last week, more than a third of Americans aged 16 or older have stopped looking for work altogether. The U.S. added 1.8 million jobs in July, but the number of unemployed outstrips the number of job openings.

In July, the unemployment rate was 10.1 percent. The rate had gone down from previous months, coming in line with the unemployment rate at the height of the Great Recession.

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Categories: Economics, Health

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