An additional 2.4 million unemployment claims came in from U.S. workers last week, the latest numbers reflecting the economic effects of the coronavirus lockdowns.
The total number of people who have filed for unemployment during the pandemic has reached 38.6 million.
Though the total represented a continued decrease from the peak back in March, a significant number of self-employed workers are not reported in the number.
A federal program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, part of the relief package approved by Congress in March, has begun providing financial payments to hundreds of thousands of self-employed individuals. Those receiving the assistance are not counted in the overall unemployment numbers.
"The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is giving us a view into a segment of the workforce that's harmed during a recession that we don't typically get," said Dante DeAntonio, an economist at Moody's Analytics. "It gives us a better handle on the scope of what's happening."
The program also seems to ease the burden on state unemployment offices that were scrambling to keep up with the unprecedented number of claims being made as a result of the pandemic-caused economic shutdowns.