Unemployment Likely Rising in 11 States

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Unemployment Likely Rising in 11 States
Stateline Aug28
Activists decorate for a caravan protesting the loss of jobless benefits in Las Vegas, Nevada, earlier this month. More states are signing up for an extra $300 benefit that lasts only three weeks.
Joe Buglewicz/The Associated Press

With new jobless claims still coming in at almost a million a week, states are struggling to cushion the loss of the $600 federal supplemental pay that expired in July.

Some states appear headed for higher unemployment than the official July figures released last week, according to a Stateline analysis of jobless claims data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia had a higher share of workers on unemployment benefits last week than the official July unemployment rate: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Texas and Vermont.

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For instance, 18.3% of Hawaii’s labor force was on unemployment benefits as of mid-August, compared with a 13.1% unemployment rate in July. Hawaii officials had predicted higher unemployment because of more coronavirus cases and fewer visitors than usual.

Georgia had an 11% share of its workforce on benefits compared with the 7.6% July unemployment rate; for Louisiana, the numbers were12.1% versus 9.4%.

Thirty-five states have enrolled in President Donald Trump’s program to give another $300 weekly to workers. Others including Florida and Oregon plan to join.

Those benefits would last three weeks from Aug. 1 unless the program is extended, or Congress acts on a new weekly benefit.

Only six states already have started paying the benefit, according to the tracking site Arizona, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee and Texas.

To qualify, states must provide at least $100 in weekly benefits to workers, but states can count money they already are providing in benefits. States have an option of kicking in another $100 weekly for workers but only Kentucky, Montana and West Virginia have done so.

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