Initial jobless claims increase to 870,000

Initial jobless claims increase to 870,000
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The number of new jobless claims for the week ending Sept. 19 increased to a seasonally adjusted 870,000, a small increase of 4,000 from the previous week.

But unadjusted claims spiked by 28,527, or 3.6 percent, reaching 824,542.

"This is heartbreaking, both taking a broad view and also at the personal level for the more than 800,000 individuals who filed through traditional state programs, as well as the more than 600,000 who filed under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program," said Mark Hamrick, senior economist at Bankrate.com.


"This means about 1.5 million new claims were seen in the latest week under these programs," he added.

The Labor Department's weekly unemployment claims report did show a more promising trend, however, finding a significant drop in the total number of people claiming benefits across all unemployment programs, including several emergency programs that extend benefits.

That number fell by 3.7 million to 26 million in the week ending Sept. 5.

Those 26 million people have gone without an emergency unemployment supplement of $600 a week since the end of July as Congress has deadlocked over a new COVID-19 relief bill.

Democrats pushing for a larger package of state and local government aid remain in fierce opposition to Republicans, who want to lower the weekly payments and more broadly scale back the package.

The sides appear unlikely to strike a deal before leaving Washington in the run-up to November's election.


The weekly jobless figures remain extraordinarily high by historical standards, coming in above the previous record every week for six months.

“As these data show, the recovery still remains far too slow for millions who were laid off in the spring and summer," said Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at The Century Foundation.

"Amidst all the controversies and high-stakes issues, this Congress and President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE will have to find a way to finish the job for the unemployed," he added.

— Updated at 9:03 a.m.