Virus Outbreak New Hampshire

A help wanted sign is posted May 7, 2020, outside Cyr Lumber in Windham, New Hampshire.

(The Center Square) – New unemployment claims in New Hampshire edged up last week as more jobless workers as an extra $300 in weekly payments kicked in from the latest federal coronavirus aid package.

At least 4,106 new unemployment claims were filed for the week that ended Jan. 2 – an increase of 825 from the prior week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's weekly jobless claims report.

Another 888 new claims were filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which covers workers ineligible for regular unemployment benefits. That’s an increase of 92 claims from the previous week.

Nationally, about 787,000 new jobless claims were filed last week, a decline of about 3,000 claims from the previous week, according to the Labor Department.

Continuing claims – which are considered a barometer of the unemployment situation – dropped slightly to about 5 billion nationally, the labor department said

Overall, more than 19.1 million people are now receiving state or federal unemployment benefits.

Last month, Congress passed a $900 billion Covid-19 relief bill that has added $300-a-week extra benefit for those receiving unemployment and extended two pandemic jobless programs used by more than 13 million people nationwide.

The government-funded programs provide federal jobless benefits for self-employed, gig workers and others who do not qualify for traditional state unemployment programs.

New Hampshire's unemployment rate dropped to about 3.8% in November, according to New Hampshire Employment Security.

Meanwhile, the state is seeking about $25 million in “overpayments” from more than 10,000 jobless workers who received unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has resisted calls from public health experts to tighten restrictions on the state's businesses amid a surge of COVID-19 infections.

The state has distributed about $1.5 billion in jobless benefits to more than 165,000 jobless workers during the pandemic, according to the agency.

New Hampshire's labor market has rebounded much slower than other states from the economic impact of the coronavirus, according to the personal finance website Wallet Hub.

The Granite State ranked 47th in the nation among states where the labor market has recovered the fastest since the outbreak began last year, the website reported Thursday.