Unemployment Continues to Rise After Another 1 Million Filed for Benefits Last Week

According to the latest data released by the Department of Labor (DOL), another 1 million American workers filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week on a seasonally adjusted basis. This is the 22nd time in 23 weeks that unemployment claims topped 1 million as the nation struggles economically amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Job claims totaled just over 1 million for the week ending August 22. That’s a decrease from 1.104 million last week. The last time unemployment claims were below 1 million was the week of August 8, when they totaled 971,000.

“Continuing claims continue to drop, but still indicate a highly stressed labor market,” said Jamie Cox, managing partner at Harris Financial Group in Virginia. “Even a 1 million person drop in the total number unemployed isn’t enough — there is a lot of work to be done because 14 million people are still receiving UI assistance of some kind.”

Continuing claims, the number of people receiving unemployment benefits for at least two straight weeks, have decreased by 223,000 to 14.535 million for the week ending August 15.

DOL reports that an additional 607,806 people filed for unemployment through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which was created for those who don’t typically receive unemployment, such as the self-employed. Roughly 27 million Americans are unemployment, according to DOL data.