The number has gone down, but another 2.1 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week.

Over 40 million people have filed claims in the last ten weeks.

States have started to open up their economies, but the unemployment claim numbers remain high. From The Wall Street Journal:

A continued high level of jobless-benefit applications indicates that retailers, factories, municipal governments and other employers are laying off more workers, and that Americans out of work for weeks are managing their way through overwhelmed state systems. However, rising claims no longer necessarily means unemployment rising further because new job losses are increasingly offset by workers being recalled or otherwise finding employment.

“I think we’ve hit the bottom, as far as layoffs,” said Marianne Wanamaker, a labor economist at the University of Tennessee, adding that she doesn’t yet see rapid hiring. “People should be starting to come off unemployment insurance…auto factories and suppliers have called back workers and you’re seeing states that shut down construction allowing those projects to restart.”

While some have found their way through the system, others have experienced delays:

Three Uber and Lyft drivers, along with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, filed a federal complaint this week against the state of New York, alleging the length of time it’s taking the state to process their claims compared to other workers has been “devastating.”

Behnaz Mansouri, an attorney at the Unemployment Law Project in Washington state, says roughly 60,000 people who’ve filed claims there are still waiting to receive benefits. She says self-employed workers are facing the greatest hurdles in getting jobless aid from the new federal program.

“They’re not only getting requests for more information they’re getting conflicting requests” for employment information, Mansouri said. “And these claimants don’t know what to do.”

Axios reported that the businesses that laid off or furloughed workers are having a hard time bringing them back:

  • In a Federal Reserve survey of businesses around the country released Wednesday, “workers’ health concerns, limited access to child care, and generous unemployment insurance benefits” were among the reasons businesses said workers weren’t returning.
  • The CARES Act grants an additional $600 in benefits per week to jobless Americans, on top of the amount usually paid out weekly.
  • Those benefits end in July — and there’s debate among economists and policymakers about whether that additional payout of benefits should be extended.

Plus, we have seen owners shutting down their businesses for good due to the losses caused by the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

Hopefully, people will get back to work. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow pointed out that high unemployment payments could discourage people from returning to work. He said the administration “‘may well’ support including a bonus to get workers back on the job in the next coronavirus aid package.”

 

 
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