Details still not firm on renewed unemployment benefits

Daniel Fowler
January 9, 2021

The Georgia Department of Labor issued over $130 million last week to Georgians in regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), State Extended Benefits (SEB), and Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) payments.

From Dec. 27 through January 2, 29,709 initial unemployment claims were filed in the state, along with 274,460 continued claims, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The prior week's figure was revised up to 790,000.

The claims report also showed the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid declined 126,000 to 5.072 million in the week ending December 26.

Almost $20.7 billion have been distributed in benefits since mid-March, when the Department of Labor received a huge flood of unemployment claims as businesses were forced to close in response to the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The program provides jobless benefits to those not typically eligible like the self-employed and gig workers. The number of Americans who are considered long-term unemployed was at a seven-year high of almost 4 million in November. But because they hired fewer workers than Department of Labor economists expected, this showed up as a contraction in the seasonally adjusted figures. In November of 2020 Labor Market statistics for the Golden Crescent Workforce Development Area, which includes Gonzales, Lavaca, DeWitt, Goliad, Victoria, Jackson and Calhoun Counties, show November's unemployment rate was 7.7% compared to 3.2% a year ago. It was a sharp decline from the prior week as various states, including Florida, didn't report any PUA claims. Initial claims will be accepted through March 13, 2021, with final payments on continued claims ending April 10, 2021. That program had been set to expire at the end of December.

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In states that take longer to pay out the $300 payments, any missed payments can be made retroactively.

Since the system's soft launch on January 3 - over 194,000 weekly claim certifications have been filed and over 34,000 claimants have reopened their claim. The federal extension of benefits was lengthened to 24 weeks by the congressional legislation.

The latest batch of claims came as President Trump signed a $900 billion stimulus bill giving jobless workers an extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits.

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