The number of new weekly unemployment filings showed no relief for a labor market walloped by the COVID-19 crisis, as 884,000 people filed new jobless claims last week, the Department of Labor said Thursday.
It marked the 25th straight week of historically high jobless claims as the pandemic wages on, and while the latest figure is the lowest since March, it still remains higher than the pre-pandemic weekly record set in 1982.
The latest tally is also unchanged from the previous week's revised figure -- possibly indicating some stagnation in rehiring.
It is difficult to directly compare to any other previous weekly jobless claim numbers, however, as the Department of Labor changed the methodology it used to seasonally adjust the data. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique the Bureau of Labor Statistics employs to remove the influence of predictable seasonal patterns -- such as major holidays and back-to-school schedules -- on the data. The changes come as the pandemic has upended nearly all predictable seasonal patterns.
The Labor Department also said Thursday that the total number of people claiming unemployment benefits through all programs topped 29.6 million for the week ending Aug. 22.
The states that saw the largest increase in initial jobless claims for the week ending Aug. 29 were California (an uptick of 22,647), Texas (a rise of 4,521) and Louisiana (a spike of 3,662). The states that saw the largest decreases were Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania.
The national unemployment rate was 8.4% in August. A huge chunk of the August job gains, however, were temporary hires in the government sector for the 2020 Census.