The Labor Department’s report marked the 20th straight week that at least 1 million people have sought jobless aid. Pictured: A sign asking clients to wear a mask and respect social distancing is seen on the door of a closed store in Los Angeles. Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images
Unemployment 2020

1.2 million seek unemployment benefits after $600 federal check ends

Associated Press Aug 6, 2020
The Labor Department’s report marked the 20th straight week that at least 1 million people have sought jobless aid. Pictured: A sign asking clients to wear a mask and respect social distancing is seen on the door of a closed store in Los Angeles. Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

Nearly 1.2 million laid-off Americans applied for state unemployment benefits last week, evidence that the coronavirus keeps forcing companies to slash jobs just as a critical $600 weekly federal jobless payment has expired.

The Labor Department’s report marked the 20th straight week that at least 1 million people have sought jobless aid. Before the pandemic hit hard in March, the number of Americans seeking unemployment checks had never surpassed 700,000 in a week, not even during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. The new jobless claims were down by 249,000 from the previous week after rising for two straight weeks.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

It’s been weeks since President Donald Trump signed an executive memorandum that was supposed to get the federal government back into the business of topping up unemployment benefits, to $400 a week. Few states, however, are currently paying even part of the benefit that the president promised. And, it looks like, in most states, the maximum additional benefit unemployment recipients will be able to get is $300.

What’s the latest on evictions?

For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.

Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?

Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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