Unemployment claims still high as Louisiana reopens

    Even as Louisiana businesses cautiously reopen amid coronavirus concerns, large numbers of people are seeking unemployment benefits in the state.

    The state labor department said Thursday that first-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 21,879 last week. “Continued claims” for people who had filed in previous weeks totaled more than 305,000. The continued claims number was down from more than 320,000 in mid-May. But it was well above the fewer than 16,000 continued claims for the same week last year.

    Nationwide, about 1.5 million laid-off workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, marking the 10th straight weekly decline in applications for jobless aid since they peaked in mid-March when the coronavirus hit hard. 

    An additional 706,000 people nationwide applied for jobless benefits last week under a new program for self-employed and gig workers that made them eligible for aid for the first time. These figures aren’t adjusted for seasonal variations, so the Labor Department did not include them in the official count. Read the report from Louisiana.    

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