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Over 13,000 applied for jobless aid; extra $300 payments begin

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

More than 13,000 additional people applied for unemployment claims in Michigan in the week ending Saturday, marking a more than 5,000 new claim decrease from the week prior. 

Throughout August, the number of new weekly claims has stayed at or below approximately 20,000, a huge decrease from the hundreds of thousands of weekly claims filed at the peak of the coronavirus in March and April but still more than the weekly average of 5,000 new claims filed prior to the pandemic. 

For the week ending Sept. 5, 13,229 new claims were filed in Michigan compared with the week prior when 18,838 new claims were made, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics compiled by the Associated Press.

Nationwide, a total of 884,000 people applied for unemployment benefits last week and 13.4 million people total are receiving jobless benefits.

The unemployment rate nationwide rested at 8.4% in August, down from 10.2% in July.

The state reported last week that the number of new unemployment claims it had received since March was nearly equal to the 2.6 million unemployment claims it received between May 2014 and March 2020. 

Between March 15 and Sept. 2, the state had paid out $21.9 billion in benefits to more than 2.1 million workers. 

The unemployment trust fund, from which state unemployment dollars are pulled, stood at $1.5 billion as of Aug. 31, down from $4.6 billion at the beginning of the pandemic.

July's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Michigan was 8.7%, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Updated figures were not immediately available for August.

The Unemployment Insurance Agency on Thursday began processing the $300 per week extra in federal jobless aid authorized under an August executive order issued by President Donald Trump. No extra claim outside of the normal unemployment information already filed is needed to get the extra $300

The Lost Wages Assistance initially will go to backpay those who did not get extra assistance between late July and mid-August — about 910,000 people, said Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Steve Gray. The benefits end with the week ending Sept. 5. 

The payments will be made in the next week to 10 days.

The funds only will be available for six weeks, per the Federal Emergency Management Agency directives, Gray said. 

eleblanc@detroitnews.com