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More than 1 million people again filed for state unemployment benefits last week, after briefly slipping below the million mark earlier in August. Additionally, more than 600,000 people filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides relief to independent contractors, the self-employed and those not covered by state programs. Claims have fallen since April, when more than 6.6 million people filed for benefits in a single week—however, for comparison, weekly claims topped out at 665,000 in March 2009 during the Great Recession, the country’s last economic downturn.

The country's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.9 percent for the week ending Aug. 15; in the Sarasota-Manatee region, that number was 9.4 percent for the month of July. The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Aug. 15 were in New Jersey (11,580), Florida (11,190), New York (9,879), Texas (9,096) and Tennessee (3,793). The largest decreases were in California (12,155), Nevada (6,817), Georgia (4,236), Puerto Rico (2,864) and Pennsylvania (1,510).

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