On an unadjusted basis, 1.2 million people filed claims for the first time, down 171,000 from the previous week. Seasonal adjustments are traditionally used to prolong the data, but this has tended to have the opposite effect during the pandemic.
Ongoing claims, counting workers who filed for at least two weeks in a row, were 17 million for the week ended July 18, up from 867,000 from the revised weekly level of before. These seasonally adjusted claims peaked in May at nearly 25 million.
In addition to those filing traditional unemployment claims, nearly 830,000 people in all 50 states first filed for unemployment pandemic aid last week, up from 106,000 from the previous week. More than 12.4 million claimed continued pandemic benefits across 46 states for the week ending July 11, down nearly 767,000 from the previous week.
The pandemic program was created by Congress in March to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. It provides temporary benefits to workers who are not normally eligible for payments, including freelancers, independent contractors, the self-employed and certain people affected by the coronavirus. Expires at the end of the year.
In all, 30.2 million Americans declared jobless benefits in a range of programs for the week ended July 11, down 1.6 million from the previous week.
Congress debated the $ 600 weekly improvement extension
The Democratic House wants to continue the $ 600 supplement at the beginning of next year, saying the economy is still too weak and jobs are still scarce.
But Senate Republicans and the White House are concerned that such generous improvements discourage people from returning to work and hampering the recovery of the economy. When combined with state benefits, an extra $ 600 meant that two-thirds of workers were doing more on unemployment than they did on wages, according to an estimate by University of Chicago researchers.
Instead, GOP lawmakers are looking to reduce the benefit to $ 200 a week for two months and then switch to state and federal payments to replace 70% of lost wages over the rest of the year.
Economists, however, say the federal supplement has helped fuel the economy as the virus rages across the nation, and its rapid withdrawal could dampen the recovery.
Although the federal government was keeping the bill for the $ 600 supplement, states are still running out of their unemployment trust funds. Some 10 states borrowed nearly $ 17.2 billion from the federal government to pay their share of unemployment benefits, which typically last 26 weeks.
Unemployed people are guaranteed to get their paycheck every week, regardless of whether the state should take out a loan from the federal government. Unusual for borrowing states during tough economic times.