September 3, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) – Labor Department statistics this morning showed that initial unemployment claims rose again, for the fourth week in a row, to just under 1.6 million total. This report marks the 24th week in a row with more initial jobless claims than any week of the Great Recession, and points again to a stalling economic recovery amid declining government stimulus.
While some headlines wrongly reported the figure “fell” last week due to a change in DOL’s method of seasonal adjustment, the more accurate non seasonally adjusted figures and the inclusion of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims show that the number rose significantly, again. American workers who file unemployment claims through PUA, including gig workers, self-employed, contractors, and more also support families facing desperate situations and deserve to be counted and included in coverage of the country’s worsening economic crisis.
“This week’s jobs data continues to show a weakening recovery and an economy in need of greatly increased government stimulus,” said Rep. Beyer. “The increase in self-employed workers, gig workers, contractors, and others filing new PUA claims is especially troubling and points to the enormous amount of need for increased assistance. The President’s smoke and mirrors executive actions have done little to help. The White House must stop posturing and return to the negotiating table so we can move forward on providing real relief for American families.”
As the White House continues to stall negotiations on further economic stimulus, with the White House Chief of Staff saying “we’re not going to negotiate here” earlier this week, the first state to implement the President’s cut-in-half enhanced unemployment benefits said Wednesday that the fund providing those benefits may already be depleted.
Rep. Beyer serves as the Vice Chair and top Member of the House on Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, and is the author of the Worker Relief and Security Act, which would tie enhanced federal unemployment benefits to public health crisis declarations and economic conditions.