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U.S. unemployment nearly 15%

(CN) — Nearly 2 million Americans reported that they were newly out of a job last week, with about 14.8% of the country still collecting unemployment insurance benefits, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

“The Covid-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims and insured unemployment,” the report explains.

Counting a total of 29.9 million Americans receiving unemployment benefits, the federal agency says 10 million of this group are claiming Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits and 209,692 are claiming Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits. These programs extend benefits to gig workers and the self-employed who are typically ineligible to claim unemployment insurance benefits.

With the addition of 1.8 million by May 30, a total of 42.6 million Americans have applied for benefits over the last 12 weeks, about 14% of the country’s total population.

The Department of Labor used covered employment of 145,671,710 in its calculation, defining that term as Americans who are “unemployed through no fault of their own,” while also meeting certain work and wage requirements.

Nevada reported the highest insured unemployment rate in the country last week — nearly 25% of its workforce is collecting benefits — followed by Maine, Michigan, Puerto Rico and Hawaii, all above 20%.

Maine also reported the highest increase with 11,941 new claims, while Washington, Florida and California all reported decreases in initial claims.