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U.S. Jobless-Claims Figures Inflated by States’ Backlog-Clearing

June 29, 2020, 7:24 PM

The weekly U.S. jobless claims report shows that 11 million people are on a new federal aid program geared toward the self-employed, accounting for more than a third of total claims across the country.

But that figure -- cited by economists alongside traditional claims in regular state programs as helping provide a more complete picture of unemployment -- likely overstates the true count. In some cases, by a lot.

Eight states and Puerto Rico have reported Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims higher than those for regular state programs, according to figures released Thursday. On the surface, this suggests there are many...

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