Weekly US jobless claims back over 1 million

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — The number of Americans filing a new claim for unemployment benefits rose back above the 1 million mark last week, a setback for a struggling U.S. job market amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 1.1 million for the week ended Aug. 15, from 971,000 the week before, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Analysts had expected the number to fall, not rise, Reuters and The Associated Press reported.

The previous week’s level had marked the first time since March that new claims had registered below the 1 million level.

The extra $600 a week unemployment benefit lapsed on July 31. While President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that includes a provision extending the supplement at a reduced rate of $400 a week, there has been confusion over its implementation.

States are required to cover $100 of the benefits, but some governors have indicated they don’t have the financial capacity after revenues were lost in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The remaining $300 will be funded from a limited emergency disaster relief program, which economists estimated could be depleted as early as September.

First-time claims peaked at a record 6.9 million in late March.

The U.S. economy has regained only 9.3 million of the 22 million jobs lost between February and April. 

Reuters contributed to this report.

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