U.S. Jobless Claims Continue To Rise Past 40 Million

U.S. Jobless Claims Continue To Rise Past 40 Million

There were some encouraging signs: The overall number of Americans now drawing jobless benefits dropped for the first time since the crisis began, from 25 million to 21 million.

More than 190,800 Utahns have sought unemployment benefits since the week ending March 7, including more than 26,200 self-employed and contract workers, who are now covered for jobless aid under a new program. The program allows unemployed citizens, such as freelancers and gig workers, who can not apply for regular unemployment benefits, to apply for government benefits.

Nationally, another 2 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, bringing the total for the past 10 weeks to more than 40 million.

Of the $4.3 billion in payments, $1.6 billion has come from the state, while $2.5 billion came as part of federal pandemic unemployment compensation.

The number of people claiming regular unemployment benefits for consecutive weeks fell to 21.1 million.

Officials said nearly 100,475 initial jobless claims have been filed since March 15, and just under $282 million in unemployment benefits paid. While the pace of newly filed applications has slowed, they are still higher than at any point in modern history before the pandemic hit. But other employers are still laying off workers in the face of a deep recession. Many workers are making more through state and federal unemployment benefits than they were working and have chosen to stay home instead of risking catching the virus.

Additionally, higher-than-normal unemployment checks are keeping a portion of the labor market at home.

An economic adviser to the Trump administration has predicted that the nation's unemployment rate will top 20 percent when numbers are released June 5, according to Politico.

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