New Maryland unemployment claims dipped for the third consecutive week to the lowest point of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Maryland Department of Labor is reporting 23,839 people filed first-time unemployment claims for the week ending July 25.
The figure was split almost evenly among workers traditionally covered by unemployment and those receiving payments under a federal program created this spring for nontraditional workers and those who exhausted previous benefits.
The total new claims is the lowest in 19 weeks since the first cases of the virus were reported in the state and Gov. Larry Hogan ordered the majority of businesses to close.
The state has since reopened its economy, but Hogan announced Wednesday that he was pausing additional efforts after expressing concern about changes in some key metrics that track the spread of the disease. Hogan has not eased restrictions since June 19.
This is likely the last week of emergency supplemental $600 federal unemployment payments, at least for the time being. The payments, which began in the spring, will end if the U.S. Senate and House are unable to reach an agreement on a new round of federal aid. Democrats in the House have a $3 trillion plan that continues the benefits until the end of the year; the Republican-led Senate is backing a $1 trillion package that would sharply reduce them.
Nationally, more than 1.4 million people filed for benefits during the same week, a slight increase of about 12,00 compared to the previous week.
(This story will be updated.)