Update July 2021 – The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims changed trend and increased for first time in several months, but layoffs are easing amid a reopening economy and a shortage of people willing to work. With unemployment benefits ending early in many states it is expected that claims will continue to fall.
July 2020 – Dropping Claims
Between 1.3 million to 1.4 million people filed initial applications for unemployment insurance last week, economists estimate. That would fall below the 1.5 million who sought first-time aid the week before and mark the 12th weekly drop in a row as businesses across the U.S. reopen after closing to slow the spread of the virus. But that lower tally would still mean a staggering 47 million Americans filed first time unemployment claims in just 14 weeks.
Jobless claims continue to rise at far high rates than expected and total unemployment levels are worse than expected based on recent reports. This is despite the gradual reopening of the US economy.
Initial and continuing claims exceeded 40 million which will likely drive the unemployment rate to about 20% for May. Continuing claims made up over 50% of this number and shows how many Americans remain unemployed, totaled 21.5 million, a gain of 649,000 over the past week.
[Update May 15th] The unemployment rate has jumped to 14.6%, with nearly 30 million Americans losing their job or seeing a significant cut in income over the last 6 weeks. And there looks to be a lot more pain in store, despite the slow reopening of the economy.
Several economists and business news sites are forecasting that the unemployment rate will jump into the teens this month! This is a staggering rise from March’s 4.4% level and the 3.5% it was at in February. All this due to the Coronavirus induced economic slowdown that has seen millions of hard working Americans suddenly lose their jobs and unexpectedly join the lines of the unemployed. Come mid-April it is expected that 10 million to 20 million Americans will show up in the monthly employment report as newly unemployed. Not since the Great Depression in the 1920’s has the economic situation looked so bleak. But the Government has stepped up and the following programs are available to help:
– Enhanced unemployment benefits that extend state UI benefits by 13 weeks and expands eligibility to millions of American jobs affected by the COVID-19 virus.
– A $600 supplementary payment till July 2020 to help those who have faced a sudden and unexpected job loss. This extra payment is available for furloughed or part time workers eligible for partial UI benefits.
– Those whose UI benefits have expired or claim amount is zero may also be eligible for the enhanced benefits funded by the $2 trillion CARES act stimulus bill.
I realize that getting the above UI benefits, administered by state labor departments and UI agencies, has been challenging as states roll out the new DOL guidelines. But the massive spike in new claims and restricted working conditions has been the main cause of this. So please be patient and as you can see per the comments on the many related UI articles on this site many are in the same sad boat. Feel free to leave a comment to share your situation or to get some support.