US jobless claims drop to 787,000, but layoffs remain high
Oct 22, 2020 1 min, 14 secs
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of laid-off Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 787,000, a sign that job losses may have eased slightly but are still running at historically high levels.

That’s because of fraud and the concern that some states may be double-counting applicants in their regular unemployment programs and in a new program that made contractors and gig workers eligible for jobless aid for the first time.

Thursday’s report also said the number of people who are continuing to receive unemployment benefits tumbled by 1 million to 8.4 million.

But it also indicates that many jobless Americans have used up their state unemployment aid — which typically expires after six months — and have transitioned to a federal extended benefits program that lasts an additional three months.

Many jobless recipients are now receiving only regular state unemployment payments because a federal weekly supplement of $300 has ended in nearly all states.

The still-elevated number of jobless claims underscores that a full recovery from the pandemic recession remains far off.

The number of people whose state benefits have expired and are now receiving aid for an additional 13 weeks from federal and state extended benefit programs rose 600,000 last week to 3.7 million, the government said.

An additional 345,000 people applied for jobless aid under a separate program that made the self-employed, contractors and gig workers eligible for unemployment benefits for the first time.

An exception is in states with particularly high unemployment, where laid-off workers can receive 13 more weeks of state aid

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