First-time jobless claims held steady at 787,000 for the week ending Jan. 2, while the number of those claiming unemployment benefits stands at 19.1 million, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
First-time claims for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance rest at 161,400. Continuing claims fell to 5.07 million. Seasonal factors at the turn of the year tend to dampen claims, and we are certain that this data understates the true number of those out of work.
We have made the case that this data understates the number of those unemployed. This past week, the Washington Post calculated that there are 703,000 pending appeals for unemployment benefits across the economy and another 529,000 people waiting on benefits decisions in states that publicly share that information.
While we are encouraged that the recent fiscal aid agreement will provide relief to those who are unemployed, there is another benefits cliff looming on March 14 that will require further legislative action and attention.
For more information on how the coronavirus is affecting midsize businesses, please visit the RSM Coronavirus Resource Center.