Weekly Jobless Claims Hold Against Delta Variant

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer September 2, 2021
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​States reported that 340,000 workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending August 28, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week's revised level and the lowest level since the pandemic took hold in the U.S. in March 2020. Although new claims are down significantly from this time last year, they are still elevated compared to their 2019 weekly average of just over 200,000. So far, the Delta variant surge has not resulted in a sustained increase in claims.

The total number of workers continuing to claim state unemployment benefits fell to 2.7 million. About 12 million people overall are receiving some type of unemployment aid, down from over 30 million a year earlier. Around 9 million of those claimants are collecting temporary federal unemployment benefits provided since early in the COVID-19 crisis. Those programs are scheduled to expire Sept. 6. Those still able to collect state unemployment benefits will also lose the $300 weekly boost to payments.

Meanwhile, private-sector headcount rose by just 374,000 in August, well below estimates of 600,000, according to ADP, with the majority of the new jobs being reported in leisure and hospitality. The August employment report from the Department of Labor will be released tomorrow.

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