First-Time Jobless Claims Fell 55,000 From the Previous Week

Decrease in claims may reflect workers exhausting state aid, say economists

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer October 22, 2020
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forlorn man

States reported that 787,000 U.S. workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending Oct. 17, a drop of 55,000 from the previous week and the eighth consecutive week of initial jobless claims under 1 million. 

The total number of workers continuing to claim unemployment benefits dropped to 8.3 million last week, falling below 10 million for the first time since March. The steady rise of claims in the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program for people whose benefits have run their course is concerning, say economists. Experts fear that more people may be moving into long-term unemployment. The emergency funds program is set to expire Dec. 31. 

Another 10 million people continue to claim unemployment under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program providing jobless benefits to workers previously not eligible for unemployment.

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