New Hampshire jobless claims rise slightly

New Hampshire jobless claims rise slightly

First-time unemployment claims in New Hampshire edged up slightly last week as the coronavirus outbreak continues to impact the state’s economy.

At least 3,891 new jobless claims were filed for the week that ended Jan. 16 – up by 32 from the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s weekly jobless claims report.

Another 82 new claims were filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federally backed program which covers workers ineligible for regular unemployment benefits. That’s a decrease of 402 claims from the previous week.

Nationally, about 900,000 new jobless claims were filed last week, a decline of about 26,000 claims from the previous week, according to the Labor Department.

While jobless claims remain high nationally amid a surge of the coronavirus, they’re nowhere near the deluge of 6.8 million unemployment claims filed last April when many states shuttered their economies to prevent spread of the virus.

Continuing claims – which are viewed as a barometer of the unemployment situation – dropped slightly to about 5 million nationally, the labor department said.

Overall, more than 18 million people are still receiving state or federal unemployment benefits.

Meanwhile, jobless workers are benefitting from a $900 billion Covid-19 relief package that added $300-a-week extra benefit for those receiving unemployment and extended two pandemic jobless programs used by more than 13 million people nationwide.

The government-funded programs provide federal jobless benefits for self-employed, gig workers and others who do not qualify for traditional state unemployment programs.

The incoming Biden administration has rolled out a $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal, which calls for an extension of federal jobless programs and an increase to the $300 weekly benefit.

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate for December was 4%, a slight increase from the previous month, according to New Hampshire Employment Security.

Last week, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu extended a statewide mask requirement and a travel advisory for the state’s residents amid a surge of COVID-19 infections.

The state has distributed about $1.5 billion in jobless benefits to more than 165,000 jobless workers during the pandemic, according to the state employment agency.

New Hampshire’s labor market has rebounded much slower than other states from the economic impact of the coronavirus, according to the personal finance website WalletHub.

The Granite State ranked 47th in the nation among states where the labor market has recovered the fastest since the outbreak began last year, the website reported.

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