American jobless claims fall below 800,000 for the first time since mid-March

Posted October 22, 2020 8:35 a.m. EDT

— Claims for unemployment benefits inched lower last week, the Department of Labor said Thursday. Still millions of Americans continue to rely on government aid to make ends meet.

Last week, 787,000 workers claimed first-time benefits on a seasonally adjusted basis. That's lower from the prior week. It was the first time jobless claims fell below 800,000 since mid-March.

But not everyone is eligible for regular state benefits. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which Congress created as part of the CARES Act in the spring, provides benefits for the self-employed and gig workers.

Last week, 345,440 people applied for PUA.

Adding these first-time claims together, initial applications for benefits stood at 1.1 million last week without seasonal adjustments.

Continued jobless claims, which count people who have applied for benefits for at least two weeks in a row, stood at 8.4 million, about 1 million lower than the prior week.

This is a developing story. It will be updated

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