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A good sign… New unemployment claims drop over last reporting period

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
There was some much-needed good news this week in regard to unemployment filings that were recorded on July 25th, 2020, as the numbers indicate that those seeking unemployment for the first time has dropped over 6,333 at 19,461 compared to 25,794 for the last reporting cycle on July 18, 2020.
A significant amount of people who have been unable to return to work and continue to draw from continued claims on a weekly basis remains at 242,397 which is a decline of 1,008 since last week.
One thing that may further impact those claims is the fact the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Program’s additional COVID-19 relief payment of $600 each week on top of the amount each claimant is entitled to ended Friday July 31st.
Without that additional money, it will be interesting to see if more people take advantage of job openings which currently are trending upward as well as many elected to not return to work and draw the extra $2,400 a month.
For the reporting period, there has been a total of $246,276,467 paid out in unemployment claims that mainly resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As mentioned previously, the monies have not come from the coffers of the Tennessee treasury but have been paid out through the federal governments Coronavirus Relief Fund.
To date, the highest continued claims paid out came during the week of May 9, 2020 when there were 325,095 claims filed. The highest total of new claims filed during a period was on April 4, 2020 just as the COVID-19 was kicking in when 116,141 claims were received.
Currently the eight counties that make up the Northeast Tennessee region had the following number of continued claims filed:
Carter – 1,082
Washington – 3,584
Unicoi – 405
Sullivan – 4,335
Johnson – 207
Greene – 2,241
Hawkins – 169
Hancock – 1,374
That gives Northeast Tennessee a total of 13,397 continued claims for the period which just ended.
Currently the federal government is working to see about providing more aid but if that does come, it could result in a lower amount than the initial $600 with talk of the amount dropping to $100 weekly proposed by Republicans.
A decision has not been made on that however as many now face the possibility of deeper struggles related to the COVID-19 pandemic as numbers continue to escalate throughout the state.
Tennessee’s unemployment rate stands at 8.9 percent which ranks 17th in the country.