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CT DEPT. OF LABOR: UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DOWN FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE MONTH, STATE TRIGGERS OFF HIGH EXTENDED BENEFITS

This article was published on: 11/19/20 2:47 PM by Mike Minarsky

(WETHERSFIELD, CT) – Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) Commissioner Kurt Westby today announced that the state’s unemployment rate is down for a third consecutive month. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) puts the unemployment rate at 6.1%, down from 7.8% in September; however the state’s economists estimate the real unemployment rate is closer to 11%, down from 12-13% last month. The falling unemployment rate pushes the state off the High Extended Benefit period by bringing the three-month average unemployment rate below 8% — a federal threshold that authorizes an additional seven weeks of benefits to unemployment and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants. The state triggered on to High Extended Benefits period in August when its three-month average unemployment rate was above 8%.

Commissioner Westby said, “A falling unemployment rate is generally good economic news, however, like all things in 2020, this situation is far more complex. The federal unemployment figures are artificially low—in this case they also have an outsized impact on claimants who need those extra benefit weeks that are available during periods of high unemployment. We expect the U.S. Department of Labor to notify us shortly that the High Extended Benefits period has ended. In turn, over the next few weeks we will notify the claimants who will begin to lose benefits.”

Once the state triggers off High Extended Benefits, claimants who are currently using those benefits will have two weeks remaining before their benefit payments end. The agency expects that some customers will see a loss of benefits as of the week ending December 12, 2020. Customers who have exhausted their benefits may apply for a second benefit year upon expiration of their first benefit year. The claimant’s guide to benefits outlines eligibility and conditions related to applying for a second year of benefits. About 188,000 people certify weekly claims.

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