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900,000 Americans filed for unemployment

The jobs crisis roared on during Donald Trump's las...

Posted: Jan 21, 2021 9:32 AM
Updated: Jan 21, 2021 9:32 AM

The jobs crisis roared on during Donald Trump's last full week as president, with 900,000 Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits on a seasonally adjusted basis.

It was down from the prior week's upswing, when claims rose to 926,000. It's a good sign that benefit applications fell again, but "good" is relative here: Millions of Americans still need government help to make ends meet, and there haven't been any real improvements for months.

Although Wednesday's inauguration of President Joe Biden spurred hopes for more government stimulus, help can't come fast enough for the unemployed. Last week's initial claims figure was still more than four times higher than in the same period last year.

"It is promising that last week's large increase was not repeated," said Indeed Hiring Lab economist AnnElizabeth Konkel in emailed comments. But she noted "both the magnitude and direction of the total initial claims remain a problem, with no substantial improvement since late summer."

On top of regular claims, 423,734 Americans applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides benefits for workers such as the self-employed, the Department of Labor said. That figure was an increase of nearly 140,000 from the prior week. This number is not adjusted for seasonal swings.

Added together, first-time claims totaled 1.4 million on an unadjusted basis last week. This total has remained stubbornly high.

Continued jobless claims, which count workers who have applied for aid for at least two weeks in a row, fell to 5.1 million.

Experts think part of the reason for the recent increase in claims is a surge in applications after the passage of the latest stimulus package at the end of December. Meanwhile, economists are also tasked with seeing through seasonal patterns in a time where things like seasonal holiday hiring is upended.

Overall, nearly 16 million Americans received some form of government benefits in the week ended January 2, a decrease from Christmas week.

But the details are less encouraging. Claimants of regular state benefits, federal employees and veterans on benefits, as well as workers who have exhausted all other options and have rolled onto the Extended Benefits program, all increased.

Workers who have exhausted their state benefits, as well as aid from the Pandemic Unemployment Emergency Compensation program that is designed to bridge the gap, may then be eligible for extended state benefits depending on where they live.

It's a complicated system of many different programs, but the bottom line is this: Millions of Americans still need help.

Ultimately, economists believe the vaccine rollout will help usher in the real recovery in the jobs market. But until then it's about supporting those still out of work while the nation battles the ongoing pandemic and rising infections.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 708067

Reported Deaths: 13224
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion964881721
Lake51704945
Allen39185672
Hamilton34497405
St. Joseph34075540
Elkhart27306432
Vanderburgh22077394
Tippecanoe21818212
Porter17940299
Johnson17526374
Hendricks16803310
Clark12688190
Madison12350337
Vigo12211244
Monroe11462166
LaPorte11140204
Delaware10356184
Howard9662211
Kosciusko9127114
Hancock7979139
Bartholomew7888155
Warrick7684155
Floyd7560176
Wayne6899198
Grant6842171
Boone6552100
Morgan6395138
Dubois6084117
Marshall5783108
Dearborn570076
Cass5684102
Henry5577100
Noble542483
Jackson493269
Shelby479095
Lawrence4342118
Gibson428789
Harrison428170
Clinton419053
Montgomery417986
DeKalb410984
Whitley379639
Huntington379480
Miami372565
Knox366389
Steuben365257
Putnam352660
Jasper350546
Wabash347778
Adams337952
Ripley334668
Jefferson313180
White308354
Daviess289299
Wells286381
Decatur278992
Fayette277162
Greene270685
Posey268833
Scott261153
Clay253444
LaGrange253070
Randolph235680
Washington230931
Spencer227931
Jennings224747
Fountain208745
Sullivan207842
Starke204352
Owen192256
Fulton191739
Jay186129
Carroll185820
Perry180336
Orange177853
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton160943
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130334
Pulaski113645
Newton103934
Brown100140
Crawford97614
Benton97113
Martin82815
Warren79615
Switzerland7698
Union69910
Ohio55811
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