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Another 787,000 Americans filed new unemployment claims during Christmas week

It’s a decline from previous weeks, but still significantly higher than any other Christmas week on record.
Travelers walk across a nearly empty skyway bridge towards the Uber and Lyft shared ride pick-up point at Logan Airport in Boston on Nov. 20. Gig workers, like those in the ride-sharing industry, are among those who will see additional federal benefits through the government's new $900 billion coronavirus relief and stimulus package, which extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance through March 14.
Travelers walk across a nearly empty skyway bridge towards the Uber and Lyft shared ride pick-up point at Logan Airport in Boston on Nov. 20. Gig workers, like those in the ride-sharing industry, are among those who will see additional federal benefits through the government's new $900 billion coronavirus relief and stimulus package, which extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance through March 14. [ MICHAEL DWYER | AP ]
Published Dec. 31, 2020

Another 787,000 Americans filed new unemployment claims during Christmas week, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

That number represents a drop of 19,000 from the previous week, and is the lowest it’s been since the week of Thanksgiving, although it’s still by far the most of any Christmas week on record — more than 200,000 higher than during the same week of 2008′s Great Recession.

In all, 19,5 million Americans were still receiving some form of continued unemployment insurance for the week ending Dec. 12, the most recent week for which that stat is available.

Related: Here's when new $600 stimulus checks, PPP loans could arrive

In Florida, the number of new claimants dropped to just more than 23,000, a decrease of more than 5,500. To date, Florida has paid out $19.76 billion to 2.16 million claimants since the start of the pandemic.

But the state is about to dole out a lot more.

The Department of Labor on Thursday issued new guidance on who will receive extensions of federal unemployment benefits through the new $900 billion stimulus bill passed into law this week.

Related: Coronavirus stimulus package adds rent relief, extends eviction moratorium

The government’s Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which paid out $600 per week but ended in July, will resume starting with new claims made this week and run through March 14, paying $300 per week. It will not cover any weeks between July and Dec. 26. forgive me,

Similar rules apply to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which covers gig workers and the self-employed, and ended last weekend. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has said workers claiming that relief will not see a gap in their coverage, which will run through March 14, or April 5 if job seekers have not yet exhausted their 50 weeks of eligibility. The new law also requires claimants to provide documentation of their self-employed status, and states to verify their identities.

Related: Florida's unemployment quarter change returns; here's what it means

Further guidance on other new federal initiatives, including an extension of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and a new rent relief program, is expected soon.