This statement was published in response to the April 9, 2020 release of jobs numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the most up-to-date data please visit TCF’s comprehensive UI data dashboard here.
The unimaginable surge in jobless claims continued, as an absolutely stunning 6.6 million more Americans newly applied for emergency help between March 29 and April 3, just slightly below the all time record set last week. All told, 16.8 million new workers have filed for claims in the previous three weeks. This number surpasses The Century Foundation’s previous projection of 11 million unemployment claims caused by COVID-19, which seemed almost preposterous when we made it on March 25.
In just three weeks, COVID-19 has triggered a jobs crisis that is truly unthinkable in its scale and scope, stretching from coast-to-coast and impacting service jobs that once seemed immune to economic ups and downs. Now, workers and communities are anxiously awaiting to see if our public response to the dual health and economic crises can do a better job than it has to date to staunch the bleeding of jobs.
Until more help comes, Americans will be forced to lean on the unemployment system like never before. Fortunately, despite the unprecedented volumes we’re seeing placed on state UI systems, workers are starting to secure the help they so desperately need. Today’s report indicates that insured unemployment has climbed from 1.8 million on March 14 to 7.5 million on March 28. In other words, of the 10 million workers who filed for help in the two weeks ending on March 28, 53% have already had their applications processed.
Still, there is a long way to go in processing outstanding claims and ensuring that workers, including those newly eligible such as gig workers, get the aid they needed. This is an all hands-on-deck emergency, and the President and Congress need to rise to the occasion.