The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits jumped 2.6 million to 20.4 million for the week ending Jan. 23, Labor Department figures showed on Thursday, Feb. 11.
On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell raised a job market warning, stating that the true unemployment rate was actually as high as 10% rather than the official 6.4 percent. He called for a “society-wide” campaign to restore the job market to the pre-pandemic power it had.
Yet, this week, senators focused on impeaching former President Donald Trump on Democratic-controlled Capitol Hill. The pandemic relief plan by the Biden White House was sidelined as the Senate trial began.
There are 5.1 million Americans on periodic state unemployment insurance. Under the Pandemic Unemployment Aid scheme, which is open to freelancers and self-employed employees, a further 8.7 million are seeking compensation. About 4.8 million individuals earn coverage under the Pandemic Emergency Policy and 1.6 million under the Extended Benefits Program.
There were just 2.2 million Americans seeking unemployment insurance a year ago, when the pandemic hit.