By Tim Darnell, Atlanta Journal-Constitution #local-all
The government will provide its latest picture Thursday of the pace of layoffs in the United States, which have remained high as some sectors of the economy have rebounded since the viral pandemic erupted in March while others remain depressed.
The still-elevated number of people seeking unemployment benefits each week reflects an economy that has recovered only about half the 22 million jobs that were lost to the pandemic. Many employers, especially small retailers, hotels, restaurants, airlines and entertainment venues, are still struggling. And millions of Americans are facing unemployment with vastly diminished aid since the expiration of a $600-a-week federal benefit this summer.
At the same time, some newly laid-off people are facing delays in receiving unemployment benefits as some state agencies intensify efforts to combat fraudulent applications and clear out backlogged claims. California, the largest state, has stopped processing new applications for two weeks as it seeks to reduce backlogs and pursue suspected fraud.