Initial unemployment claims rose last week in Nebraska for the first time in several weeks.
According to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor, there were 3,196 initial claims for the week that ended Saturday, up 472 from the previous week.
Before last week's increase, initial claims in the state had fallen for four straight weeks to their lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Continuing claims, which lag a week behind initial claims, continued their decline, falling sharply in the week ending Aug. 8. According to Labor Department data, Nebraska's continuing unemployment claims dropped by more than 7,700, to 31,427.
People receiving weekly unemployment compensation stopped receiving an additional $600 from the federal government at the end of July when the emergency benefit expired and was not renewed by Congress.
That is a significant loss. Figures released Thursday by the Nebraska Department of Labor show that since March 29, Nebraskans have received just over $1 billion in unemployment aid, with nearly $690 million of that coming from the $600 weekly federal pandemic aid.
President Donald Trump earlier this month authorized via executive order an additional $300 in federal compensation, as long as states agreed to kick in an additional $100. His administration later clarified that states could just offer the $300 payment without contributing the $100.
States must opt in to the program and some already have, although one, South Dakota, has said it will not participate.
Taylor Gage, a spokesman for Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, said he has not made a decision yet on whether to participate.
"We continue to review the President’s executive order," Gage said.
Nationally, initial claims also rose. After falling below 1 million the week ending Aug. 8 for the first time since early March, claims rose 135,000 last week to 1.1 million. Continuing claims continued to drop, falling more than 600,000 to 14.84 million.
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