Postman Manheim

A postal worker wearing a mask delivers mail on Market Square in Manheim Thursday, April 9, 2020.

New claims for unemployment benefits filed by Lancaster Countians remained elevated last week by fresh filings from people who already were unemployed but have exhausted their first round of benefits, new data shows.

Although new claims dropped slightly -- by 4.0% to 602 claims -- they exceeded 500 for the fifth straight week, according to figures released by the Lancaster County Workforce Development Board on Thursday.

New claims had dwindled into the 200s in late February and early March, until getting inflated anew by the timetable undergirding the claims process.

Hundreds of people who were laid off at the start of the pandemic, which began in March 2020, now are seeing their initial year of benefits end. So they’re filing new claims, hoping to get another year of regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits, a board official explained.

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Across the nation and state, the number of new claims (formally known as initial claims) fell last week as well. Nationally, new claims declined 6.7% to 547,000, said the U.S. Department of Labor. Statewide, they dipped 4.0% to 21,600.

As new claims declined here and elsewhere, so did another type of claim – continued claims. These are filed by people who already are receiving jobless benefits and wish to continue doing so. Continued claims filed by countians decreased by 0.2% to 7,089 in the week ended April 10, the most recent period for which figures are available.

This fourth consecutive weekly decline also was fueled in part by claimants exhausting their benefits, the board data shows.

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