Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Americans were starting to fall off the rolls of unemployment. But Thursday's claims report shows the drop-off hasn't just stalled out — the trend continues to reverse course.

Why it matters: Skepticism about the underlying data remains. But economists are still worried about the high level of Americans relying on some form of unemployment benefits, which is once again rising six months after the pandemic hit, even as the economy has reopened.

By the numbers: Roughly 14.5 million workers were collecting benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides benefits to gig workers, the self-employed and others with limited work history, as of the week ending in Aug. 29.

  • That’s a drop-off from the prior week’s figure, but is still likely overstated.
  • A Labor Department spokesperson told WSJ that it's monitoring the PUA program and working with states where some of the numbers appear to be inflated.

Between the lines: A separate program designed to be tapped once regular unemployment benefits have been exhausted hit its highest level since it was established: 1.5 million people are now receiving benefits through that program.

What they’re saying: The rise in people in the extended unemployment benefits program "means ranks of the 'permanently unemployed' continue to increase," Robert Frick, an economist at the Navy Federal Credit Union, said in a statement.

  • That — plus the uptick in overall Americans receiving some form of unemployment — "add up to a situation where quick advances in driving down unemployment are stalling, and we can now expect tougher going, especially without more stimulus and a faster decline in COVID-19 cases."

What to watch: New state-level unemployment data is out later this morning. It's the most comprehensive look at how states’ labor markets fared in August.

  • 1 stat to go: Here's how quickly the pandemic shifted the ground for states across the country. 18 states both saw their lowest level of unemployment ever and their highest level of unemployment ever this year. (h/t AEI economist Ben Ippolito)

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 23, 2020 - Economy & Business

Recent arrests suggest massive fraud in California's unemployment system

A person waits outside a closed office of California's Employment Development Department. Photo: Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Fraud in California's Employment Development Department (EDD) was so rampant and seemingly easy to exploit that one Los Angeles rapper was arrested recently after making a song and video about doing it.

What's happening: In a historic example of snitching on oneself in an effort to clout chase, rapper Fontrell Antonio Baines, aka Nuke Bizzle, describes how easy it is to get "rich off of EDD" in a music video posted to YouTube titled "EDD."

24 mins ago - Health

Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

About half of Americans are worried that trick-or-treating will spread coronavirus in their communities, according to this week's installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This may seem like more evidence that the pandemic is curbing our nation's cherished pastimes. But a closer look reveals something more nuanced about Americans' increased acceptance for risk around activities in which they want to participate.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.