Stateline

Unemployment Likely Rising in 11 States

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 UnemploymentPUA.com: 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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