Penn Cinema Re-Opens

General Manager Joel Holler, left, guides moviegoers to the correct theater, as movie theaters across Lancaster County re-opened to customers at Penn Cinema in Lititz Friday June 26, 2020.

New claims for unemployment benefits filed by Lancaster Countians dropped 7.5% last week but remained elevated by fresh filings from already unemployed people who’ve exhausted their first round of benefits, new data shows.

The drop to 616 new claims from 666 new claims the prior week ended a string of three consecutive weekly increases, according to figures released Thursday by the Lancaster County Workforce Development Board.

But despite the decline, the number of new claims is roughly double the volume seen a month earlier.

The reason, according to the board, is that hundreds of people who were laid off when the pandemic began in March 2020 -- and now are seeing their year of benefits ending -- are filing new claims.

They’re hoping to get either another year of regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits, depending on their circumstances. For more information on eligibility criteria, visit

National and statewide figures reflect the opposite trend, however. Across the country, new claims (formally known as initial claims) grew 2.2% to 744,000 last week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Statewide, new claims rose 3.7% to 22,000.

As Lancaster Countians filed fewer new claims, they also filed fewer continued claims for unemployment benefits – claims filed by countians who’ve been unemployed for less than a year and want to keep receiving benefits. That figure tumbled 6.9% in the week ended March 27 to 8,200.

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