The number of furloughed US government working seeking unemployment benefits doubled between the first and second weeks of the partial federal shutdown, now in its 27th day, the longest in US history.
Some 4,800 federal workers filed unemployment claims during the week of December 29, a number that jumped to about 10,500 during the week of January 5, according to numbers released Thursday by the US Labor Department.
By comparison, just over 1,000 government workers sought unemployment assistance during the same period last year.
The figures suggest that the number of furloughed workers currently seeking unemployment benefits could be much higher now, as the protracted standoff stretches into its fourth week.
When the shutdown started on December 22, about 420,000 federal employees were deemed essential and are working unpaid. An additional 380,000 were furloughed without pay.
Most furloughed workers are eligible for unemployment benefits…