New unemployment applications continued to climb last week, spiking higher as new COVID-19 cases spread throughout the country forcing many local governments to reverse progress made on opening businesses.
A total of 947,000 individuals filed new unemployment claims last week, up 229,000 from the prior week, according to the Labor Department. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, 853,000 individuals filed for unemployment for the week ending Dec. 5.
While the total number of claims is far from the more than 5 million per week seen during the early days of the pandemic, it’s still troubling to see the numbers increase week-over-week nearly nine months after initial lockdowns were enacted. Daily COVID-19 deaths climbed above 3,000 for the first time on December 9.
Extended unemployment benefits for many — including real estate agents who were included in unemployment for the first time ever by the CARES Act — are set to run out at the end of the month, absent a deal reached between the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and the White House.
Recent negotiations have included new funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and an additional $300 in extended unemployment. A sticking point for progressive Democrats has been the inclusion of liability protection for businesses, but Republican leadership has yet to commit to another round of stimulus checks. Aid for state and local governments has been another sticking point in negotiations, according to a report in the Washington Post.