This statement was published in response to the July 16, 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.

Today’s Labor Department report on unemployment claims shows the lack of meaningful progress in the virus-depressed job market, and the increasing danger of allowing the $600 weekly CARES Act supplement to expire. Today’s numbers confirm that we are fast hurtling toward an economic and humanitarian cliff, with more than 25 million Americans who could soon lose the $600 additional payment.

Nothing in the rate of decline in ongoing claims should give policymakers the impression that the $600 supplement is no longer needed. Continued claims came in at 17.36 million last week, up by a surprising 838,000 from the previous week. In fact, continuing claims have dropped only 6 percent compared to four weeks ago (the week ending June 6), reversing a more rapid decline. Underscoring the sheer volume of need, there were an additional 14.3 million ongoing claims for those impacted by COVID but not eligible for regular UI (PUA) and 936,000 claims for those unemployed for more than 26 weeks (PEUC). In total, unemployment aid has pumped between $24-$25 billion in stimulus to the economy for each of the last six weeks.

On top of those already in the system, 2.3 million workers filed initial claims for benefits (1.4 million state and 0.9 million federal) during the week ending July 11th. Actual claims rose for the first time in 13 weeks (April 4). Initial claims rose in 33 states, including big increases in Georgia, Florida, and other COVID-19 hot spots like California, Arizona, Arkansas and South Carolina.

Layoffs have not and will not subside until the COVID-19 virus is under control. All told, there were an astonishing 36 million claims for unemployment last week (compared to 34.7 million last week). The looming end of the $600 per week FPUC means these families will see their weekly benefits cut by 50-85 percent and the economy will lose more than $15 billion per week in consumer spending. Sadly, Senator McConnell has indicated it will take up to three weeks to reach a deal on a new COVID-19 relief package, leaving tens of millions of Americans in needless limbo as Congressional leaders and the White House dawdle in coming up with concrete proposals.”

Stettner analyzed the impacts of Congress allowing expanded UI benefits to sunset in a recent report, projecting that:

  • More than 25 million workers will lose the $600 federal unemployment supplement, to the tune of more than $15 billion per week.
  • Workers are set to experience a benefit cut of between 50 and 85 percent depending on the state they live in, with the largest cuts coming in states with large shares of Black claimants like Georgia, Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and North Carolina.
  • Many of the ten states facing the largest loss because of the PUC cut-off are 2020 battleground states: Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas