The number of unemployment insurance claims rose to 11,270 last week, 9,445 more than the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The increase is due to a change in how these claims are measured and because in the case of Puerto Rico and five states this is an estimate.
The U.S. Department of Labor explains that these “advanced claims” are not comparable to the previous weeks, which were “initial claims. Advance claims are reported by the state responsible for paying the unemployment benefit, while claims reported in the previous weeks reflect the state of residence of the beneficiaries.
By the week ending August 29, claims had fallen to the lowest level since the pandemic began. In the past 24 weeks, 382,358 claims have been received.
Initial claims measure the number of new cases filed in the week for benefits under the Department of Labor and Human Resources’ Unemployment Insurance program.
On the other hand, the total number of weekly unemployment insurance claims (an indicator of total unemployment) was 110,842 in the week ending August 29 (this figure is reported one week late), 22.9% below the previous week and seven times higher than the same week last year.
Claims skyrocketed to 66,555 initial claims per week in the first week of April. This is the highest weekly figure since the more than 55,000 claims in 2006 as a result of the government shutdown, but far exceeds the more than 8,000 claims during the weeks following Hurricane Mary (September, 2017).
On the other hand, last week Puerto Rico did not receive initial claims for “Pandemic Federal Unemployment Compensation” (PUA), aimed at workers who are not covered by the traditional unemployment benefits program. As of last week, 4,480 PUA claims had been filed.
In the United States, the number of initial unemployment claims remained the same as the previous week’s figure at 884,000. In total, the number of workers who have so far filed for unemployment benefits increased to 13.4 million, 93,000 more than the previous week. The number has remained stable for several weeks after reaching 7 million in March.