Government Shutdown Forces Unemployment Claims Over 300,000

What's Going On


by Barry Burch Jr.

The government’s shutting down means something a little different to everyone.  Some see the shutdown as nothing more than political bickering between the same ol’ two opposing parties, and others see it as the worse thing to happen since Hurricane Katrina.  What’s for sure is that there are people out of work, and a growing number of cancer patients who are claiming that they will die, due to their lack of treatment if the government is not able to get back on track.

On Thursday the Labor Department said new weekly claims for unemployment benefits increased from 66,000 to 374,000 last week.  This represents the highest jump in the past six months.  Because of the government shut down, it is expected that at least 15,000 of the surge in jobless claims are temporary, the Labor Department stated.

It is even believed that the actual number of shutdown-related claims is really higher than 15,000.  There was another 33,000 new claims, which derived from a computer disruption in California, meaning there are approximately 18,000 new claims without any given reason.  Though they are not identified as being caused by the shutdown, surely some of them are, said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

“The shutdown clearly is hurting,” he said.

If the numbers were not troubling enough from Thursday’s claims report, federal workers who were thrown out of work due to the shutdown were also not included, other economists noted.  These type of unemployment situations receive a one-week delay.  Next week the impact will look even larger.

As days turn into weeks, House Republicans seem to be headed towards the direction of making an agreement to increase the governnment’s borrowing limit.  This action will temporarily delay the possibility of government default, as reported by The Huffington Post.  The shutdown is estimated to be costing the American economy $160 million per day.

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