Applications for Unemployment Assistance Increase in the US

The number of Americans applying for unemployment assistance rose last week to 861,000, evidence that layoffs remain painfully up despite a sharp decline in the number of coronavirus cases.

In the last week, 13,000 applications from fired workers were added, the Labor Department said.

Before the virus broke out in the United States in March 2020, weekly claims for unemployment assistance had never reached 700,000, not even during the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

The labor market has stalled as employers added just 49,000 jobs in January after a sharp layoff of workers in December.

About 10 million jobs continue to be lost due to the pandemic. Although the unemployment rate fell last month from 6.7% to 6.3%, it was due in part to some people not looking for work.

The population that does not seek employment is not counted as unemployed.

Fraudulent applications could raise the total.

Last week, Ohio authorities reported a huge increase in applications and said they had separated about half for a more detailed review out of concern that they were false.

The report showed that a total of 18.3 million people were receiving financial aid for unemployment as of January 30, down from 19.7 million the previous week.

About 75% of them receive checks from federal programs, including two expanded aid programs that provide help to the unemployed beyond the 26 weeks covered by the programs in most states.

President Joe Biden has proposed extending both programs through August as part of his $ 1.9 trillion package currently held by Congress.