The number of first-time unemployment claims in Maryland nearly doubled in a week, and there are signs that the the local and national employment situation is stalling less than a month before the 2020 presidential election.
More than 30,000 new claims were filed in the state for the week of Oct. 3. It’s the second consecutive week in which the state has shown an increase in claims. The total number represents the largest in a single week of the pandemic since more than 33,300 people filed for benefits in mid-July.
The spike in the total number of claims is driven by upticks in both regular unemployment claims and those receiving extended or pandemic benefits through a federal program.
Nearly 10,300 workers traditionally covered by unemployment benefits filed last week with the state, the largest number since July 25.
Additionally, 19,764 people filed for extended benefits or through a program that provides unemployment to the self-employed and so-called gig-economy workers who are not traditionally covered by unemployment. Those claims are also the largest number since July 4 when more than 34,000 people filed for benefits under those programs.
The additional pandemic benefits totaling an additional $600 per week per worker expired at the end of July. Some of those workers, however, later became eligible for a supplemental benefit through FEMA of $300 per week for six weeks. The state was approved to participate in that last month but that program has now ended.
— Mike Ricci (@riccimike) October 8, 2020
House Democratic leaders and Senate Republicans continue to battle over another round of stimulus aid for workers and state and local governments. Earlier this week, President Donald Trump tweeted that his administration would end negotiations with the House until after the election.
Nationally, the labor market appears to have stalled as the U.S. Department of Labor reports another 840,000 people applied for benefits last week. The figure is 9,000 fewer than last week’s revised level. Federal officials said they revised last week’s unemployment claims to 849,000, up from the 837,000 initially reported.