New York sees rise in jobless claims as economic fallout from coronavirus continues

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Unemployment claims have exploded in New York state, with the biggest increase in first-time claims coming from New Yorkers, the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic leaving millions of people out of work.Initial jobless claims rose by more than 9,000 in New York City during the week ending Sept. 19, from 61,897 to 71,300, according to the latest US Department of Labor figures released Thursday. Georgia recorded the second-highest peak in claims, rising from 42,085 to 48,472 people claiming unemployment, followed by California, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Another 41,000 people requested New York State Unemployment Pandemic Assistance, an expanded benefit for workers and contractors under the federal CARES Act, up 9,700 from the previous week .

Across the country, nearly 870,000 people filed for unemployment, about 4,000 more than the week before, according to new seasonally adjusted statistics.

In total, as of September 5 across the country, 26 million people were receiving some form of unemployment benefit, 3.7 million less than the week before. But that’s still around 17.5 times higher than a “comparable week in 2019,” the Federal Ministry of Labor said.

Despite signs of more layoffs, the official unemployment rate for August improved slightly in New York City, according to state Department of Labor figures released Tuesday. The rate fell to 12.5% ​​from 15.9% last month in the state.

In New York City, the unemployment rate remains incredibly high compared to other metropolitan areas – with the worst in the Bronx, where the unemployment rate remains at 21.1%.

The official city-wide unemployment rate was 16.3% in August, the lowest unemployment rate since April, when it was 16.5%.

Brooklyn and Queens’ unemployment rates were 16.5% and 16.4%, respectively, while Manhattan and Staten Island recorded 12.9% and 13.8%, respectively.

The already gloomy figures paint a more bewildering picture in another way of calculating unemployment.

An economist from The New School, James Parrott, told Gothamist that the unemployment rate, in reality, is almost double that of official rates – 32% citywide, with the highest in the Bronx at 41% , according to its latest calculations for August 2020..

Parrott’s figures, an update to a report last month, are based on an unemployment rate that examines how many people are receiving unemployment benefits as a proportion of the city’s labor force as of February, rather than ‘a survey based on the fact that an unemployed person was actively looking for a job.

According to his calculations, the share of people receiving unemployment was closer to 33% in Brooklyn, 34% in Queens, 26% in Staten Island and 22% in Manhattan.

The high rates in the Bronx “underscore the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on our community,” said Eileen Torres, executive director of BronxWorks, a nonprofit organization providing social services, in a statement on the department’s new figures. of state labor.

“This signals that even as our city slowly reopens amid COVID-19, low-income communities like the Bronx – which have experienced some of the highest rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths this spring – will have also the longest road to recovery ”. Torres said.

The nonprofit served 533% more families in its Saturday pantries in August compared to January, she said.

“Even before the pandemic, the Bronx consistently had the highest rates of unemployment, housing insecurity and hunger in the city,” Torres said. “These challenges are not new – the pandemic has only highlighted the vulnerabilities in our community and we need long-term solutions.

Meanwhile, USAToday reports that the possibility of another coronavirus relief program has been overshadowed by the outcry over who should occupy the seat of late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – and more importantly, when.

When the additional weekly payments of $ 600 for pandemic unemployment expired in July, President Donald Trump reduced the payments to $ 300 under an executive decision in early August.

New York approved the second and final three-week round of $ 300 federal payments late last week.

Ministry Commissioner Roberta Reardon said “unacceptable” support would be cut. “Washington DC leaders must adopt a comprehensive program that supports jobless families and state and local governments suffering from this pandemic,” she said at the time. “Anything less is simply unacceptable. “

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