New Florida jobless applications fell in the week ending September 5

Number of Americans seeking unemployment aid is rising

But new jobless claims for the rest of the country unexpectedly stalled - a sign of ongoing weakness in the economy due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For the week that ended August 29, the largest increases in initial claims were recorded in California, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Missouri while the largest decreases were reported in Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and MI.

All told, some 29.6 million Americans were relying on some form of unemployment insurance as of August 22. That's up 20,000 from the week before, continuing last week's trend of rising claims.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said last week it was changing the method employed for adjusting initial jobless claims to account for seasonal swings in employment.

New claims have generally decreased since surging in March at the start of the Covid-19 crisis, however the data for the week ended September 5 was unchanged from the prior week and still worse than at any point during the global financial crisis.

Last week's figures were the lowest since the pandemic drove unemployment claims to unprecedented highs.

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On an unadjusted basis, which is more comparable, jobless claims ticked 20K higher to 857.14K from the prior week. Though the so-called continuing claims were likely boosted by California's bi-weekly filing system, the rise fit in with a slowing labor market. "This is broadly consistent with the idea that the labor market recovery has lost momentum lately".

"The U.S. economy added 1.4 million jobs last month, and we've have added a record-setting 10.6 million jobs since May".

The number of people who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic and collecting unemployment benefits was pegged at 13.3 million for the week that ended August 29 while the total number of Americans on unemployment rolls totaled 29 million for the week that ended August 22.

The new data comes one week after a new jobs report showed the economy added 1.4 million jobs in August, a slow down from the 1.7 million added in July. Economists say this number is a better measure of the labor market's health.

The still-sky-high number of Americans who lost work during the coronavirus crisis and continue to tap unemployment insurance would normally be a troubling sign for a US president seeking reelection, but maybe not this year.

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