This statement was published in response to the July 1, 2021 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.
Today’s jobless claims numbers provide an important data point in advance of tomorrow’s key June jobs report. Over the past month, the number of workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits has slipped to 474,000 (down 35,000 NSA this week). Most importantly, the number filing ongoing claims for benefits has dropped by 777,000 in the last month to 14.6 million, which augurs well for a positive jobs report.
These downward trends have everything to do with the improving job market boosted by stimulus spending and the vaccination drive—and are not the result of states eliminating the $300 boost. In fact, today’s report offers the first hard evidence of any impact of the cut-off of the supplement on claims. In the four states that eliminated the $300 on June 12, claims for state benefits actually increased by 4,000 between June 12 to June 19 (up 3.7 percent),while claims in the other 47 states increased by 33,000 over the same week (only up 1 percent). Clearly workers in these states are filing jobless benefits not for the extra $300, but because they can’t find suitable work and need help to stay afloat.
Data for ongoing claims for PUA and PEUC lag an additional week, so today’s report represents the last week when this promised aid was available in all states. There are 5.9 million workers on PUA, down 15,000 this week, and 5.3 million more on PEUC, down 12,000. These numbers have been improving at a slow and steady pace, before the cut-off has taken effect. But PUA and PEUC will plummet over the next month, as upwards of two million workers will lose access to aid before they find a job.
Last Friday an Indiana judge ordered Governor Eric Holcomb to restore federal unemployment benefits, ruling that he had abdicated his legal responsibility to keep unemployed Hoosiers out of harm’s way. The judge pointed out how unfair it was to promise aid to workers—who based financial decisions on it—and then take it away. It’s a policy tragedy that is being repeated across 26 states, next in Maryland and Tennessee on Saturday when 450,000 claimants will lose access to the lifeline of pandemic benefits.