Fewer Louisiana residents made new unemployment claims last week

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

Fewer Louisiana residents made new claims for state unemployment benefits last week compared to the week before, even as claims were rising nationwide, according to federal and state reports released Thursday.

However, continuing claims for state benefits, as well as Louisiana requests for federal benefits by workers who have exhausted their state benefits, both showed increases in the most recent reports.

New claims for state benefits in Louisiana dropped to 9,114 for the week ending Dec. 5, compared to 11,780 the week before. That’s still significantly higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic slowdown. For example, during the week ending Dec. 7, 2019, 2,448 claims were filed, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported Louisiana residents made 2,389 new claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance during the week ending Dec. 5, which is down more than 4,000 from the prior week. PUA benefits workers traditionally not eligible for state unemployment, such as independent contractors and gig workers.

The labor department says Louisiana residents made 41,452 claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation for the week ending Nov. 21, which was the most recent week reported Thursday. That’s almost 3,000 more claims than was made the previous week. PEUC supports workers who have exhausted their state retirement benefits.

More than 947,000 workers nationwide filed new claims for state unemployment benefits last week, up nearly 229,000 from the week before.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the week’s figure was 853,000, an increase of 137,000. Almost 428,000 people applied for PUA.

The federal government established the PUA and PEUC programs as part of the CARES Act pandemic relief and stimulus package. Both programs are scheduled to expire Dec. 26.

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