The number of new unemployment claims in regular state-run programs rose last week to a seasonally adjusted 898,000. That’s up 50,000 for the prior week and the biggest increase in first-time unemployment claims since August.
The economy has clearly stalled with new claims for unemployment remaining stubbornly above 800,000.
Claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the federal program for gig and self-employed workers not eligible for unemployment through the regular state-run programs, dropped to 373,000 from about 460,000. But that number is especially unreliable because of a lack of full reporting from California and Arizona.
The total number of people on all unemployment programs dropped slightly to 25.3 million for the last week of September, down from 25.5 million the previous week.
And for the data obsessed among us there’s one more set of numbers to watch.
Congress set up the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation in March to provide 13 weeks of aid when regular state unemployment benefits expire—typically after 26 weeks but in some states after as little as 12 weeks. Nearly 2.8 million people got PEUC payments in the week ended on September 26. That was a huge jump from 2 million the week before. That stands to reason through since more unemployed workers have exhausted their state benefits as the pandemic has stretched on.
The PEUC payments don’t run forever, though. The program expires at the end of 2020.