Unprecedented numbers of Americans are still seeking unemployment insurance, with another 861,000 filing their first claims for benefits last week.
That number represents a spike from the two previous weeks, where the number reported by the U.S. Department of Labor was below 800,000. Last week’s reported figure was revised upward by 55,000, an atypically high adjustment — and even then, the number reported this week still represented a jump of 13,000.
Overall, 18.3 million Americans filed for some form of unemployment for the week ending Jan. 30, the most recent week for which that figure is available. That includes nearly 7.7 million claims for Pandemic Unemployment Insurance, benefitting gig and self-employed workers harmed by the coronavirus pandemic; and 4 million claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which enables recipients to extend the number of weeks they can seek benefits.
The four-week average of continued claims — meaning the number of unemployment insurance claims that continued for multiple weeks, which is a fairly steady indicator of labor market conditions — sat at 4.6 million for the week ending Feb. 13, falling from more than 4.7 million the week before. This time last year, the four-week average was just over 1.7 million.
In Florida, nearly $22.5 billion has been paid out to nearly 2.3 million residents. Another 18,982 residents filed initial claims last week, a decrease of more than 2,700 from the previous week. That represents Florida’s lowest such total since the start of the pandemic, and even lower than some weeks of the Great Recession — yet it’s still 3.5 times higher than the same week in 2020.