Tennessee's unemployment claims drops for a fourth consecutive week

Tennessee's unemployment claims drops for a fourth consecutive week

To confront rapidly rising unemployment prompted by pandemic lockdowns put in place to build hospital capacity and slow the virus spread, Congress passed several rounds of economic stimulus including the more than $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act beefing up federal benefits by $600 a week with radically expanded eligibility requirements.

ME had uncovered and canceled at least 2,200 fraudulent claims and was investigating at least 1,000 more as of last Wednesday.

This past week, close to 23,000 Tennessee residents filed new unemployment claims. Claims have declined since hitting a record 6.867 million in late March.

The state's unemployment trust fund has run dry, so it must turn to the federal government for loans to cover its share of jobless benefits, which last up to 26 weeks.

More than 42 million people are unemployed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Initial unemployment claims continue to surge in Florida, even as jobless filings in the rest of the USA decline.

Economists predict unemployment could reach almost 20%.

As part of a fiscal package worth almost $3 trillion, the government greatly expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits to include self-employed and independent contractors who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The weekly claims report "does give a pretty incomplete picture of exactly what unemployment looks like right now, and not even necessarily how many people have lost jobs, but how many people are just not earning an income that they were used to earning before", said Citigroup Inc. economist Veronica Clark.

These workers do not qualify for the regular state unemployment insurance (UI) and must file under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

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