The Department of Labor (DOL) reported that national unemployment claims notably increased last week, partly because thousands of Verizon Communications union employees are seeking unemployment benefits following a dispute with the company.
According to the DOL, the number of first-time unemployment applicants increased from 412,000 in the week ending Aug. 13 to 417,000 in the week ending Aug. 20. At least 8,500 of the current claims come from Verizon employees.
CNN reports that 45,000 Verizon workers went on strike at the beginning of August after the company considered cutting employees’ health benefits and pensions once union contracts expired. The two sides were unable to reach an agreement.
Although striking workers typically aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits, the DOL’s statistics represent the weekly filed claims, not claims that have been approved.