This statement was published in response to the July 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.
New data this morning from the Labor Department further underscore the high-stakes impacts of the looming expiration of federal unemployment benefits. In two weeks from Sunday, absent Congressional action, the $600 per week federal supplement being provided to all benefits recipients will be cut off—a cut off that comes as record numbers of workers continue to receive and rely on assistance.
In the week ending July 4, 16.8 million workers filed ongoing claims for regular state benefits, meaning they remained furloughed or partially or totally out of work. State continuing claims are only 11 percent lower than at the beginning of June. On top of these state claimants, there were a record 14.4 million claims processed for federal pandemic unemployment assistance (for those not eligible for regular UI, such as gig workers and youth) and 850,000 long-term unemployed filing for pandemic emergency unemployment compensation (an increase from last week). All of these claims could be eligible for the crucial $600 top-off provided by the CARES Act, which supplements UI benefits that would otherwise be very meager, on average just $330 in state and $190 in federal benefits.
New layoffs have not abated either: 2.4 million Americans were newly tossed out of work (including those initially called back and then sent home as reopenings paused and closures were reinstated). Of these 2.4 million who filed initial claims for unemployment benefits, there were 1.4 million in state benefits and 1 million in federal pandemic benefits. Initial state claims have barely budged over the past month, and are only 16 percent lower than on June 6. Equally concerning, initial state claims increased in 23 states last week, including those with major virus spikes, such as Texas and Louisiana.
Analyzing the impacts of Congress allowing expanded UI benefits to sunset, a new report released this morning from TCF experts projects 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.
Working families from all over the country, including more than one million who signed one petition, have made clear that these extra UI funds have made the difference in helping families pay their medical bills, care for their children, and keep a roof over their head as they await the opportunity to return to work safely. By more than a 2:1 margin, a clear majority of Americans support an extension of this expanded aid. Working families are holding out hope that Congressional leaders have a change of heart and respond to their pleas and the evidence in today’s report.