Unemployment Claims Fall; Still Much Higher Than Pre-Pandemic

NEW ORLEANS – Fewer Louisiana residents made new state unemployment claims last week than the week before, though well over 100,000 people still are receiving benefits.

For the week ending Oct. 31, 8,419 people made initial unemployment claims, compared to 9,943 the previous week, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Last year, before the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic slowdown imposed to limit the spread of the new coronavirus, about 2,000 or so people would make new claims weekly. For example, during the week ending Nov. 2, 2019, 1,762 new claims were filed, the LWC says.

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The unemployment insurance continued claims for the week ending Oct. 31 decreased to 115,350 from the previous week’s total of 128,378. For a pre-pandemic comparison, the continued claims were above the comparable figure of 13,852 for the week ending Nov. 2, 2019.

Louisiana, like many other states, must borrow hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government to pay legally required unemployment benefits. While lawmakers during the recent special session were able to find $85 million to shore up the fund, a long-term solution was not identified.

However, legislators did pass measures that will prevent the higher business taxes and benefit reductions for workers that otherwise would have been required when the unemployment insurance fund dwindles.

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By David Jacobs of the Center Square

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