Applications for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment surged in New York and other states as workers exhausted their 26 weeks of traditional benefits, the U.S. Labor Department reports.
In New York, 433,446 emergency claims were filed during the week ending Sept. 26, up from 232,083 the week before. Nationwide, emergency claims climbed to 2,778,007, up from 1,959,953 the previous week.
The program provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits.
The numbers suggest that many workers who lost their jobs in the early days of the pandemic have been unable to find new jobs. The numbers are rising as many employers convert what originally were temporary furloughs to permanent layoffs.
Airlines, hotels and restaurants have been particularly hard hit, as have retailers and entertainment venues such as movie theaters.
The number of newly unemployed workers also rose, the Labor Department says.
Initial claims for unemployment insurance in the week ending Oct. 10 climbed by 53,000 to 898,000 from 845,000, a figure that was revised upward by 5,000, from the week before. It was the highest figure since late August.
In New York, 68,670 claims were filed by newly jobless workers, an increase of 4,514 from the previous week.
But New York saw a decline in the number of workers filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which covers gig workers, the self-employed, and others not covered by traditional unemployment benefits. Claims fell to 28,859 from 30,489 the week before.
Covid-19 continues as a threat to economic recovery, with cases once again on the increase. Borders remain closed, quarantine restrictions have crippled travel, and many people continue to work from home.
Congressional leaders haven’t been able to agree on a new stimulus program that would provide additional relief during the pandemic.
Also, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that business activity continued to expand in October, but at a slower pace than in September. The Empire State Manufacturing Survey also found small increases in employment, and an average work week that was “substantially longer” than in September.
Longer term, firms were somewhat less optimistic than they had been a month earlier, the Fed survey also found.
Meanwhile, retailers and shippers continue to prepare for the upcoming holiday season, although many of the retail jobs are actually in logistics. Walmart, for example, said it would hire 20,000 seasonal workers to help pack and ship customers’ purchases.