New unemployment claims in Maryland increased for the first time in more than a month, according to new figures released by the Maryland Department of Labor.
In all, 14,191 new people filed for benefits for the week ending Aug. 15, an increase of 1,074 over the previous week. The report Thursday represents a trend of the previous five weeks where new claims decreased compared to the prior week.
The latest round of claims was driven by nearly 8,300 workers who are traditionally covered by unemployment insurance and who sought benefits. Also included in the report were another 5,910 people receiving extended benefits or 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.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday that the state had been approved to receive grants through the Federal Emergency Management Agency that could provide supplemental payments of $300 per week to some affected workers. The new payments, announced earlier this month by President Donald Trump, are half the amount provided by the CARES Act.
Eligible workers could start seeing the new supplemental payments, which are retroactive to Aug. 1, sometime in September.
More than 1.1 million Marylanders have filed for unemployment benefits at some point in the last 22 weeks.
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%
A new jobs report for July is expected Friday.
Nationally, the U.S. Department of Labor reported more than 1.1 million initial claims, an increase of 135,000 compared to the previous week.
Last week was the only time in which the national tally of weekly claims fell below 1 million since the start of the pandemic.
The figures suggest that employers are still slashing jobs even as some businesses reopen and some sectors like housing and manufacturing have rebounded.
“Getting the virus in check dictates when there’ll be relief from this economic nightmare, and it doesn’t look like it will be soon,” said Ann Elizabeth Konkel, an economist at Indeed, a job listings website.
The scourge in the U.S. has killed more than 170,000 people and caused over 5.5 million confirmed infections, with deaths rising by more than 1,000 a day on average. Worldwide, the death toll stands at about 790,000, with over 22 million cases.
The overall number of laid-off American workers collecting unemployment benefits declined last week from 15.5 million to 14.8 million. Many of them probably found jobs. But some may have used up all their benefits, which in most states run out after about six months.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.