Maryland jobless claims fall dramatically

New unemployment filings fell for the fifth consecutive week to a new low since the COVID-19 pandemic reached Maryland.

In all, 13,117 people filed for benefits for the first time during the week ending Aug. 8. The tally is a decrease of 5,151 claims compared to last week, which itself was a low for the period since the coronavirus prompted a series of shutdowns and restrictions.

The latest round of claims was driven by more than 7,600 workers who are traditionally covered by unemployment insurance and who sought benefits. Also filing were another nearly 5,500 people in jobs not traditionally covered by the program but eligible for benefits under the federal CARES Act.

That expanded federal program expired at the end of July as lawmakers in Washington are at loggerheads over a new aid package that could extend benefits.

In all, nearly 1.1 million Maryland residents have filed for benefits at some point during the pandemic.

The state has clawed back some of those jobs, a total of nearly 100,000 in May and June combined. A new look at the number of people rehired is expected later this month.

As of the end of June, Maryland’s unemployment rate was 8%.

Nationally, initial claims dipped to 963,000, a decrease of 228,000 compared to the previous week.

It is the first time since the start of the pandemic that new claims have dropped below 1 million nationally.

(This story will be updated.)


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