First-time unemployment claims in New Hampshire declined last week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s weekly report.
There were 394 new applications for state unemployment benefits filed for the week that ended Oct. 30, the federal agency reported on Thursday. That’s 68 fewer newly filed claims than the previous week.
The state also reported 71 new claims last week for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program that expired two months ago. That’s 35 fewer than the previous week, according to the report.
PUA and other federal unemployment programs created by Congress in response to the pandemic – including a $300 per week enhanced benefit – expired on Sept. 4 but jobless workers are still filing for the benefits.
The Labor Department data only shows first-time unemployment claims that were filed for the previous week, not those that were successfully processed.
Continuing state unemployment claims – which lag behind a week – totalled 2,373 in the week ending Oct. 23, a decrease of 308 over the previous week.
The state has distributed more than $1.8 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits to workers since March 2020, when the COVID-19 outbreak began.
New Hampshire’s unemployment rate dropped below 3% in September – one of the lowest rates in the nation, according to New Hampshire Employment Security.
Employers in New Hampshire and elsewhere are struggling to find workers amid a prolonged hiring crunch that economists say is holding back growth of the pandemic-battered economy.
Many businesses had hoped that the end of the federal unemployment programs would result in a boost in hiring, but that doesn’t appear to have happened.
Nationally, first-time unemployment claims also continued to decline last week with retail and hospitality businesses rehiring workers for the busy holiday season.
There were 269,000 new jobless claims filed during the week that ended Oct. 30, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week, according to the U.S. Labor Department. That’s the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020, the agency said.
Continuing unemployment claims, which lag behind a week, dropped by 134,000 to more than 2.1 million nationally for the week that ended Oct. 23, officials said.
Overall, more than 2.6 million Americans were still receiving state or federal jobless benefits in the week ending Oct. 16, the agency reported.
This article was originally posted on New jobless claims in New Hampshire decline