Initial claims for state jobless benefits rose last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
The weekly figure was about 402,000, up 37,000 from the previous week. New claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federally funded program for jobless freelancers, gig workers and others who do not ordinarily qualify for state benefits, totaled 118,000, up 47,000 from the prior week. The figures are not seasonally adjusted. (On a seasonally adjusted basis, state claims totaled 412,000, an increase of 37,000.)
In four states — Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi and Missouri — it was the final week in which some or all federal pandemic unemployment benefits were paid, including a $300 supplement to other benefits. A total of 26 states have announced plans to discontinue federal benefits this month or next, even though they are funded through September.
New state claims remain high by historical standards but are one-half the level recorded in early February. The benefit filings, something of a proxy for layoffs, have receded as businesses return to fuller operations, particularly in hard-hit industries like leisure and hospitality.