California unemployment claims have declined, raising hopes the statewide economy has begun to recuperate from coronavirus-linked ailments.
Workers in California also face a looming cutoff for federal benefit payments of an extra $300 a week. The payments are slated to cease Monday.
The state reported 59,755 initial claims for unemployment were filed during the week ending Aug. 28, a decrease of 3,591 from the prior week, the U.S. Labor Department reported.
Following revisions of reports from the previous weeks, unemployment claims have fallen for three straight weeks.
The recent filing trends mark the first time since October 2020 that initial claims in California have declined for as many as three consecutive weeks.
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 340,000, a pandemic low and another sign that the job market is steadily rebounding from the economic collapse caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Jobless claims dropped by 14,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The weekly count has mostly fallen steadily since topping 900,000 in early January.
The job market has been rebounding since the pandemic paralyzed economic activity last year and employers slashed 22 million jobs in March and April 2020. The nation has since recovered 16.7 million jobs, and economists have estimated that Friday’s jobs report for August will show that employers added 750,000 more last month. Posted job openings — a record 10.1 million in June — have been rising faster than applicants have lined up to fill them.
For many of the still-jobless, next week could bring financial hardship. A $300-a-week federal benefit, which was made available to the unemployed on top of their regular state jobless aid after the pandemic hit, will expire Monday. When it does, more than 11 million people in 35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will lose at least some benefits, estimates Greg Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics. Of those, 8.9 million will lose all their jobless aid; 2.1 million will lose the $300-a-week federal check but will continue to receive state unemployment aid.
Twenty-five states, seeking to push the jobless back to work, had already halted the federal aid for an additional 3.5 million people, Daco said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Orange County Register