Oct 22, 2020 - Economy

New state unemployment filings fall to 787,000

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

First-time applications for unemployment fell last week, according to Department of Labor data released on Thursday.

Between the lines: The overall number of Americans relying on unemployment also fell to a still-staggering 23 million. But there are continued signs of labor market strain, with more people shifting to an unemployment program designed for the long-term jobless.

By the numbers: Filings for regular state unemployment came in at 787,000 — still above pre-pandemic peaks, but a dramatic decline from the 6 million new weekly applications filed early on in the pandemic.

  • Add in applications for the unemployment program designed for gig workers and self-employed, and total new filings came to 1.1 million.
  • The report included figures from California, which paused reporting of its weekly claims figures to get through its growing backlog of new applications. Revisions from that state lowered the overall number of jobless applications in recent weeks.

What to watch: The number of workers that have continued to receive unemployment benefits — after filing for the first time — fell by over 1.2 million, but much of that decline is because workers have exhausted unemployment benefits.

  • Over half a million workers shifted into the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which allows those whose regular unemployment benefits expired to receive an additional 13 weeks of support.
  • More than 3 million Americans are now receiving benefits through that program.
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