Emergency Unemployment Expiration Dominates Jobless Data

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There are other data to consider, as well. In the week ended January 4, the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs was was 3,706,087, a decrease of 1,003,734 from the previous week. While that drop was the most significant recorded in months, its size was due to the expiration of the extended emergency benefits program. No longer are more than 1 million long-term unemployed Americans who have used up traditional benefits able to collect emergency and extended payments.

A measure to extend emergency payments for long-term unemployed Americans for a period of three months passed a key Senate procedural hurdle on January 6, but the Senate then failed to advance the plan as lawmakers disputed how to cover the cost of the benefits and how long they should continue. Thursday’s report was the first to show that 1.35 million unemployed Americans lost emergency benefits.

While the overall number of people claiming unemployment benefits declined, those continuing to receive jobless benefits climbed by 34,000 to 3.06 million in the week ended January 11, the highest number reported since July.

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