Improvement in New Hampshire’s jobless picture picks up the pace

Most recent data shows 31% drop in new unemployment claims
Virus Outbreak Unemployment New Hampshire

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Thus far, the improvement in the state’s employment outlook has been slow, but last week it sped up a lot.

Initial unemployment claims fell by 31% to 1,518 for the week ending Oct. 3. It was the largest one-week decline, percentagewise, since the recession started in March.

The number of filings is still about three times higher pre-pandemic levels, but if the decrease continues at this new accelerated rate, the state could be back to normal – at least when it comes to number of new layoffs – by Election Day.

Some 32,243 Granite Staters continued to collect benefits during the week ending Sept. 26, though that number is also down, by 2,885, or 8.2%. In other words, nearly twice as many people went back to work that week then lost their jobs the next.

The state’s upbeat report is even more bright compared to the more sluggish national recovery. Some 840,000 Americans lost their jobs the week of Oct. 6, a 1% improvement.

While the number of unemployed people has declined locally and nationally, their situation has become more dire. This is the fourth week since the demise of the $300 weekly federal enhancement to unemployment benefits 300 – already down from the original $600 before that. That means that their checks are, on average, less than half of the amount they were at the start of the pandemic.

There was hope that Congress would bring those enhanced benefits back, but President Trump put an end to those negotiations after he returned from the hospital for his own Covid-19 treatment. There is the possibility of a narrower deal, but it seems to be focused on bailing out the airline industry, not those currently on unemployment.

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