While the number of new people filing for unemployment each week is ticking downward, the cumulative number relying on government assistance continues to add up.
Figures from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development out this morning show more than 29,000 Tennesseans applied for unemployment benefits last week, which is still far above pre-pandemic levels. More than half a million have applied for benefits since the beginning of the outbreak.
More than 325,000 of those claims have been approved and those people are living off the money week to week.
In all, nearly $300 million has been paid out in unemployment benefits, with the state unemployment trust fund responsible for about a fifth of that. The federal government is footing the rest of the bill with special pandemic compensation. The additional $600 weekly payments expire at the end of July.