About 1.4 million workers filed new claims for state unemployment benefits last week, marking the first upturn in new jobless claims since early in the pandemic. Jobless claims rose both among those who qualify for regular unemployment benefits and those who are covered under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which extends benefits to people who would not otherwise be covered, including self-employed and part-time workers.
The upturn, an increase from the 1.3 million claims in the prior two weeks, comes just before the weekly $600 unemployment benefit expires at the end of the month, and on the same day that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that there would be no payroll tax cut included in the Republican-proposed coronavirus relief package. President Donald Trump has long pushed for such a cut, and Mnuchin didn’t rule out including it in a future relief package. Senate Republicans also reached a “fundamental agreement” with the White House to potentially extend the $600 weekly unemployment benefit, Mnuchin said Thursday.