Coronavirus jobless claims: 2.4 million sought aid last week

Daniel Fowler
May 23, 2020

The number of Kentuckians seeking unemployment assistance approached 800,000 in the past nine weeks as the virus caused businesses to shut down.

Unemployment claims showed an increase of 1.041 million claims or 333% in April to reach a total of 1.35 million claims.

Jobs in Georgia were down by 492,100 over the month, the lowest number of jobs on record in six years.

Claims have been gradually declining since hitting a record 6.867 million in the week ended March 28. The monthly total was higher than the annual total for each of the previous four years combined, 291,962 in 2019, 310,494 in 2018, 325,597 in 2017, and 372,132 in 2016.

In the week ending May 16, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 249,000 from the prior week to 2,438,000, the seventh weekly decline in a row but staying at high levels, Xinhua news agency quoted the Department as saying on Thursday.

While it's not uncommon for claims to be revised, nor will the latest complications alter the bleak and sudden deterioration in the labor market, the errors come at a time when economists and policymakers are attempting to get the best-possible handle on the pandemic's damage to the economy and the pace of recovery.

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"Throughout the duration of this crisis, our priority is processing claims and backdating payments appropriately". By mid-June, the department expects to be filing about 1 million unemployment claims in one week.

The number of Floridians who filed new unemployment claims last week remained nearly unchanged from the previous week, suggesting some stabilization in job losses as Florida businesses have started reopening after being closed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, according to labor figures released Thursday.

"We are prepared to help both employers and claimants navigate the unemployment system during and as they transition back to work".

Since efforts to the contain covid-19 pandemic rapidly shut down the economy in mid-March, about 38.6 million initial unemployment insurance claims have been filed under state programs. Its call center staff is consistently answering more than 80,000 phone calls each week.

State Labor officials reported Thursday morning that more than 532,000 workers have filed initial claims for jobless benefits over the past two months.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is struggling to meet the challenge of providing jobless benefits to workers who suddenly find themselves idled by coronavirus.

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