Nov 8, 2020 - Economy & Business

Over 1 million Americans filed for unemployment for 33rd straight week

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits continues to fall, but data from the Labor Department showed more than 1 million people filed for first-time jobless benefits for the 33rd week in a row.

By the numbers: More than 738,000 people applied for first-time traditional unemployment benefits last week, and nearly 363,000 applied for benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

Why it matters: The rate of unemployment filings has been remarkably high for a remarkable amount of time.

Between the lines: The number of people receiving benefits through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program for the long-term unemployed has risen by 14,348% since it started in April, while the PUA program is up 6,741% during that time.

  • "The small increase in PEUC relative to the decline in continuing claims for regular state UI is due in part to workers running into administrative glitches getting on to PEUC," Heidi Shierholz, a former chief economist at the Department of Labor and current director of policy at left-leaning think tank EPI, said on Twitter.

What's next: Shierholz also points out that unemployment benefits are starting to run out for more people and will expire for all of the nearly 14 million Americans on pandemic programs at the end of the year.

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