Damage to a Main Street business from Hurricane Ida is pictured Monday, August 30, 2021, in Houma, La.

There was a spike in new unemployment claims across Louisiana as residents impacted by Hurricane Ida sought help after the storm. 

There were 9,319 new unemployment claims filed for the week ending Saturday, up from 2,060 a week prior, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. 

The federal government authorized Disaster Unemployment Assistance to help residents who lost their jobs or self-employed people who lost business because of the hurricane. The minimum benefit through the federal program is $93 each week. 

Residents in the following parishes may qualify for jobless benefits: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana. The deadline to apply for the special unemployment program is Oct. 4, and the maximum amount of benefits would run out by March. 

By the end of August in Louisiana, there were already 30,571 people still seeking unemployment benefits, which is much lower than 235,785 people still unemployed during the same time frame in August 2020. 

Nationwide, there were 310,000 people seeking unemployment benefits, the lowest during the coronavirus pandemic. More than 8 million people lost unemployment benefits at the beginning of September as a federal program expired. In Louisiana, the extra $300 in federal benefits were cut short a month early. 

Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed national jobless claims dropped from a revised total of 345,000 the week before. At their current pace, weekly applications for benefits are edging toward the pre-pandemic figure of roughly 225,000.

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