New York sees jump in new unemployment claims

(The Center Square) – Initial claims for unemployment rose by more than 38 percent last week in New York, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

New York reported 63,391 first-time claims for the week that ended on Saturday; that was up from the 45,863 the week prior. Nationally, there were 947,504 initial claims last week, up nearly 32 percent from the week prior. Those figured are not adjusted seasonally.

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While the number of initial claims rose substantially in New York and nationally, the overall number of New Yorkers on regular unemployment dropped by 5.4 percent for the week ending Nov. 28. That meant there were 411,297 claimants. Nationally, that number rose by 10.2 percent to nearly 5.8 million.

Despite the decrease, New York still ranks behind only California’s 1.2 million claimants for the most people on insured state unemployment.

More New Yorkers also filed first time claims for the federal pandemic unemployment assistance, a program Congress passed earlier this year to help freelancers, independent contractors and others not covered by the traditional unemployment program. Last week, 31,335 workers filed for that benefit, compared to 22,959 the week prior. That represented a 36.5 percent increase.

Like traditional unemployment, ongoing PUA claims also continue to decrease. The Labor Department reported 28,931 fewer cases for the week ending Nov. 21, a 2.4 percent decrease.

Again, though, the nearly 1.2 million New Yorkers on PUA trails only California’s 1.8 million for the highest total in the country.

According to a study published by WalletHub, New York ranks well against other states when it comes to the change in unemployment.

The state posted the 20th highest percentage increase in the change in unemployment claims from the same time last year. New York had was 159.8 percent initial claims for the week ending Nov. 30 as compared to the total from Dec. 2, 2019.

When comparing the number of initial claims from the start of 2020 to the end of November, New York fares even better. The 41.4 percent jump is sixth best in the nation. However, Connecticut’s -0.5 percent drop and New Jersey’s 4.1 percent increase. Those states ranked second- and third-best, respectively.

Hassan Enayati, the assistant executive director for the Institute for Compensation Studies at New York’s Cornell University, told WalletHub unemployment has seen an unprecedented level of initial claims being filed since the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that the unemployment program plays a vital role in the economy not just by providing short-term income assistance but it also can help the country regain lost productivity more quickly.

“It does this by allowing individuals to engage in a rigorous job search, hopefully resulting in a quality employee-employer match rather than individuals scrambling to accept the first job they find,” he said.

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