Extending the $600 weekly unemployment boost would support millions of workers: See updated state unemployment data

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released the most recent unemployment insurance (UI) claims data yesterday, showing that another 1.4 million people filed for regular UI benefits last week (not seasonally adjusted) and 1.0 million for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the new program for workers who aren’t eligible for regular UI, such as gig workers. As of last week, more than 35 million people in the workforce are either receiving or have recently applied for unemployment benefits—regular or PUA.

Figure A and Table 1 show the total number of workers who either made it through at least the first round of regular state UI processing as of June 27 (these are known as “continued” claims) or filed initial regular UI claims during the week ending July 4. Three states had more than one million workers either receiving regular UI benefits or waiting for their claim to be approved: California (3.1 million), New York (1.7 million), and Texas (1.4 million). Seven additional states had more than half a million workers receiving or awaiting benefits.

While the largest U.S. states unsurprisingly have the highest numbers of UI claimants, some smaller states have larger shares of the workforce filing for unemployment. Figure A and Table 1 also show the numbers of workers in each state who are receiving or waiting for regular UI benefits as a share of the pre-pandemic labor force in February 2020. In four states and the District of Columbia, more than one in six workers are receiving regular UI benefits or waiting on their claim to be approved: Hawaii (19.7%), Nevada (19.3%), New York (17.8%), District of Columbia (17.6%), and Oregon (17.0%).

Figure A

New and cumulative jobless claims by state: Numbers and shares of workers either receiving unemployment benefits or waiting for approval during the week ending July 4

State Total currently receiving or applied for regular UI Regular UI as a share of labor force Total currently receiving or applied for PUA
Alabama 150,988 6.7% 47,145
Alaska 48,080 13.9% 21,289
Arizona 236,557 6.5% 2,323,755
Arkansas 112,787 8.2% 103,277
California 3,051,489 15.6% 1,910,546
Colorado 254,821 8.0% 113,421
Connecticut 265,335 13.7% 51,831
Delaware 50,386 10.3% 12,176
Washington D.C. 72,895 17.6% 13,994
Florida 715,578 6.8% 39,546
Georgia 748,223 14.5% 23,438
Hawaii 132,041 19.7% 117,873
Idaho 32,061 3.6% 3,409
Illinois 707,701 11.1% 183,484
Indiana 213,171 6.3% 294,789
Iowa 145,875 8.3% 18,546
Kansas 107,555 7.2% 61,999
Kentucky 173,544 8.3% 63,801
Louisiana 331,318 15.7% 168,888
Maine 64,572 9.3% 32,477
Maryland 274,082 8.4% 777,959
Massachusetts 564,371 14.7% 458,106
Michigan 560,313 11.3% 1,129,508
Minnesota 364,672 11.7% 64,333
Mississippi 153,517 12.0% 552,724
Missouri 215,743 6.9% 97,183
Montana 40,516 7.5% 52,014
Nebraska 60,473 5.8% 32,525
Nevada 300,627 19.3% 290,211
New Hampshire 79,248 10.2% 0
New Jersey 537,283 11.8% 427,136
New Mexico 101,328 10.5% 55,884
New York 1,703,997 17.8% 1,119,604
North Carolina 432,351 8.5% 253,496
North Dakota 33,484 8.3% 8,471
Ohio 443,959 7.6% 696,835
Oklahoma 130,829 7.1% 3,774
Oregon 357,790 17.0% 34,665
Pennsylvania 697,528 10.6% 3,021,336
Rhode Island 70,016 12.5% 53,960
South Carolina 207,599 8.7% 95,505
South Dakota 16,600 3.6% 4,382
Tennessee 292,955 8.7% 147,793
Texas 1,387,330 9.8% 251,272
Utah 75,440 4.6% 13,989
Vermont 40,520 11.9% 10,730
Virginia 412,975 9.3% 306,843
Washington 445,708 11.2% 169,660
West Virginia 74,513 9.2% 0
Wisconsin 247,284 8.0% 27,940
Wyoming 15,899 5.4% 4,828

Notes: For comparisons to the size of the labor force, we use February 2020 levels. Totals reflect the number of workers whose have made it through at least the first round of processing or are waiting for their claim to be processed.

Unless otherwise noted, the numbers in this blog post are the ones reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, which they receive from the state agencies that administer UI. While the DOL is asking states to report regular UI claims and PUA claims separately, many states appear to also be including some or all PUA claimants in their reported regular UI claims. As state agencies work to get these new programs up and running, there will likely continue to be some misreporting. Since the number of UI claims is one of the most up-to-date measures we have of labor market weakness and access to benefits, we will still be analyzing it each week as reported by DOL, but ask that you keep these caveats in mind when interpreting the data.

Source: U.S. Employment and Training Administration, Initial Claims [ICSA], retrieved from Department of Labor (DOL), https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf and https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/claims.asp, July 9, 2020.

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Figure A and Table 2 show the total number of workers who either made it through at least the first round of PUA processing—the new federal program that extends unemployment compensation to workers who are not eligible for regular UI but are out of work due to the pandemic—by June 20 or filed initial PUA claims during the weeks of June 27 or July 4. We do not sum the PUA claims with regular UI claims because some states have misreported PUA claims in their initial claims data, leading to potential double counting.1

As of last week, DOL reported that over 15 million workers across 48 states and the District of Columbia are receiving or waiting on a decision for PUA benefits, which underscores the importance of extending benefits to those who would otherwise not have been eligible. Five states have at least a million workers in this category: Pennsylvania (3.0 million), Arizona (2.3 million), California (1.9 million), Michigan (1.1 million), and New York (1.1 million). New Hampshire and West Virginia still have not reported any PUA claims. Florida, Georgia, and Oklahoma have reported initial PUA claims, but have yet to report any continuing claims.

We should despair for the millions who have lost their jobs and for their families, and our top priority as a country should be protecting the health and safety of workers and our broader communities by paying workers to stay home when possible, whether that means working from home some or all of the time, using paid leave, or claiming UI benefits. When workers are providing absolutely essential services, they must have access to adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and paid sick leave. The current spike in coronavirus cases across the country—and subsequent re-shuttering of certain businesses—show the devastating costs of reopening the economy prematurely.

As we look at the aggregate measures of economic harm, it is also important to remember that this recession is deepening racial inequalities. Black communities are suffering more from this pandemic—both physically and economically—as a result of, and in addition to, systemic racism and violence. Both Black and Hispanic workers are more likely than white workers to be worried about exposure to the coronavirus at work and bringing it home to their families. These communities, and Black women in particular, should be centered in policy solutions.

To mitigate the economic harm to workers, Congress should extend the across-the-board $600 increase in weekly unemployment benefits well past its expiration at the end of July. If Congress does not extend these benefits through next year, it could cost us more than 5 million jobs and $500 million in personal income. Figure B, at the end of this post, shows these expected job losses by state.

As part of the next federal relief and recovery package, Congress should also include worker protections, investments in our democracy, and resources for coronavirus testing and contact tracing (which is necessary to reopen the economy). At the same time, policymakers should prioritize long-overdue overhauls of federal labor law and continue to strengthen wage standards that protect workers and help boost consumer demand.

The package should also include substantial aid to state and local governments so that they can invest in the services that will allow the economy to recover, particularly public health and education. Without this aid, a prolonged depression is inevitable, especially if state and local governments make the same budget and employment cuts that slowed the recovery after the Great Recession. More than five million workers would likely lose their jobs by the end of 2021, harming women and Black workers in particular since they are disproportionately likely to work for state and local governments.

Figure B

If the $600 weekly unemployment insurance increase is allowed to expire, how many jobs will it cost over the next year?: Job cost as a level and as a share of employment

State Jobs cost Jobs cost, as a share of employment
Alabama 43,261 2.1%
Alaska 12,458 3.8%
Arizona 55,566 1.9%
Arkansas 29,984 2.3%
California 836,142 4.7%
Colorado 66,898 2.4%
Connecticut 74,689 4.4%
Delaware 14,621 3.1%
Washington D.C. 19,611 2.4%
Florida 244,921 2.7%
Georgia 186,605 4.0%
Hawaii 32,751 5.0%
Idaho 10,049 1.3%
Illinois 195,149 3.2%
Indiana 59,443 1.9%
Iowa 42,580 2.7%
Kansas 26,089 1.8%
Kentucky 49,751 2.6%
Louisiana 81,945 4.1%
Maine 18,025 2.8%
Maryland 67,486 2.4%
Massachusetts 157,162 4.2%
Michigan 194,520 4.4%
Minnesota 107,633 3.6%
Mississippi 42,744 3.7%
Missouri 59,410 2.0%
Montana 11,800 2.4%
Nebraska 15,422 1.5%
Nevada 84,166 5.9%
New Hampshire 26,941 3.9%
New Jersey 147,911 3.5%
New Mexico 29,012 3.3%
New York 463,968 4.7%
North Carolina 142,496 3.1%
North Dakota 9,293 2.1%
Ohio 129,599 2.3%
Oklahoma 46,018 2.7%
Oregon 115,599 5.9%
Pennsylvania 252,642 4.1%
Rhode Island 20,228 4.0%
South Carolina 54,484 2.5%
South Dakota 5,107 1.1%
Tennessee 80,269 2.5%
Texas 364,576 2.8%
Utah 20,728 1.3%
Vermont 11,831 3.8%
Virginia 106,549 2.6%
Washington 122,224 3.5%
West Virginia 22,606 3.2%
Wisconsin 65,635 2.2%
Wyoming 4,597 1.6%

Note: We take the relationship between the unemployment rate and the boost to personal income from the extra $600 payment that held in May of 2020 and assume it continues going forward as benefits are extended past July. We apply a multiplier of 1.5 to the personal income boost provided by enhanced UI. We then divide this boost by overall GDP, and apply the resulting percentage change to the average level of employment in the first quarter of 2020 to get an implied employment boost. The numbers in the chart are the average boost to personal income, GDP, and employment between the third quarter of 2020 and the second quarter of 2021. Some quarters would see even larger effects.

Source: Author’s analysis based on data from the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), data on continuing unemployment insurance claims from the Department of Labor (DOL), and total nonfarm employment from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Current Employment Statistics (CES).

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Table 1

New and cumulative regular jobless claims by state: Regular unemployment insurance (UI) claims filed and numbers and shares of workers either receiving regular unemployment benefits or waiting for approval during the week ending July 4

State Most recent week initial claims: 07/04/2020 Most recent continued claims claims: 06/27/2020 Total receiving UI or waiting for approval Total receiving UI or waiting for approval as a share of the labor force
Alabama 18,498 132,490 150,988 6.7%
Alaska 6,437 41,643 48,080 13.9%
Arizona 26,627 209,930 236,557 6.5%
Arkansas 10,797 101,990 112,787 8.2%
California 267,123 2,784,366 3,051,489 15.6%
Colorado 7,727 247,094 254,821 8.0%
Connecticut 12,369 252,966 265,335 13.7%
Delaware 2,663 47,723 50,386 10.3%
District of Columbia 2,538 70,357 72,895 17.6%
Florida 67,070 648,508 715,578 6.8%
Georgia 103,590 644,633 748,223 14.5%
Hawaii 7,734 124,307 132,041 19.7%
Idaho 4,705 27,356 32,061 3.6%
Illinois 38,897 668,804 707,701 11.1%
Indiana 24,086 189,085 213,171 6.3%
Iowa 10,698 135,177 145,875 8.3%
Kansas 12,183 95,372 107,555 7.2%
Kentucky 23,068 150,476 173,544 8.3%
Louisiana 31,907 299,411 331,318 15.7%
Maine 2,837 61,735 64,572 9.3%
Maryland 32,497 241,585 274,082 8.4%
Massachusetts 26,755 537,616 564,371 14.7%
Michigan 34,470 525,843 560,313 11.3%
Minnesota 19,886 344,786 364,672 11.7%
Mississippi 11,850 141,667 153,517 12.0%
Missouri 16,894 198,849 215,743 6.9%
Montana 2,613 37,903 40,516 7.5%
Nebraska 6,143 54,330 60,473 5.8%
Nevada 16,169 284,458 300,627 19.3%
New Hampshire 5,285 73,963 79,248 10.2%
New Jersey 46,711 490,572 537,283 11.8%
New Mexico 6,113 95,215 101,328 10.5%
New York 93,797 1,610,200 1,703,997 17.8%
North Carolina 27,202 405,149 432,351 8.5%
North Dakota 1,830 31,654 33,484 8.3%
Ohio 33,176 410,783 443,959 7.6%
Oklahoma 7,562 123,267 130,829 7.1%
Oregon 9,771 348,019 357,790 17.0%
Pennsylvania 43,602 653,926 697,528 10.6%
Rhode Island 3,357 66,659 70,016 12.5%
South Carolina 16,062 191,537 207,599 8.7%
South Dakota 799 15,801 16,600 3.6%
Tennessee 25,843 267,112 292,955 8.7%
Texas 117,244 1,270,086 1,387,330 9.8%
Utah 4,850 70,590 75,440 4.6%
Vermont 1,814 38,706 40,520 11.9%
Virginia 33,069 379,906 412,975 9.3%
Washington 29,889 415,819 445,708 11.2%
West Virginia 3,143 71,370 74,513 9.2%
Wisconsin 27,487 219,797 247,284 8.0%
Wyoming 1,100 14,799 15,899 5.4%

Notes: Initial claims for the week ending July 4 reflect advance state claims, not seasonally adjusted. For comparisons to the size of the labor force, we use February 2020 levels.

Unless otherwise noted, the numbers in this blog post are the ones reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, which they receive from the state agencies that administer UI. While the DOL is asking states to report regular UI claims and PUA claims separately, many states appear to also be including some or all PUA claimants in their reported regular UI claims. As state agencies work to get these new programs up and running, there will likely continue to be some misreporting. Since the number of UI claims is one of the most up-to-date measures we have of labor market weakness and access to benefits, we will still be analyzing it each week as reported by DOL, but ask that you keep these caveats in mind when interpreting the data.

Source: U.S. Employment and Training Administration, Initial Claims [ICSA], retrieved from Department of Labor (DOL), https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf and https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/claims.asp, July 9, 2020.

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Table 2

New and cumulative Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims by state: PUA claims filed and numbers and shares of workers either receiving PUA benefits or waiting for approval during the week ending June 20

State Most recent week initial claims: 07/04/2020 Most recent continued claims claims: 06/20/2020 Total initial claims – most recent 2 weeks Total receiving PUA or waiting for approval Total receiving PUA or waiting for approval as a share of the labor force
Alabama 2,464 41,329 5,816 47,145 2.1%
Alaska 1,129 18,950 2,339 21,289 6.2%
Arizona 184,105 1,983,612 340,143 2,323,755 64.3%
Arkansas 9,938 84,065 19,212 103,277 7.6%
California 100,588 1,708,298 202,248 1,910,546 9.8%
Colorado 5,900 101,348 12,073 113,421 3.6%
Connecticut 1,569 48,580 3,251 51,831 2.7%
Delaware 503 11,164 1,012 12,176 2.5%
Washington D.C. 609 12,762 1,232 13,994 3.4%
Florida 11,166 0 39,546 39,546 0.4%
Georgia 23,438 0 23,438 23,438 0.5%
Hawaii 4,586 106,207 11,666 117,873 17.6%
Idaho 466 2,243 1,166 3,409 0.4%
Illinois 42,785 108,112 75,372 183,484 2.9%
Indiana 0 279,532 15,257 294,789 8.7%
Iowa 1,296 15,766 2,780 18,546 1.1%
Kansas 5,111 56,155 5,844 61,999 4.1%
Kentucky 2,950 56,959 6,842 63,801 3.1%
Louisiana 9,089 149,592 19,296 168,888 8.0%
Maine 2,274 27,962 4,515 32,477 4.7%
Maryland 32,931 712,097 65,862 777,959 23.7%
Massachusetts 12,969 430,983 27,123 458,106 11.9%
Michigan 29,261 1,069,572 59,936 1,129,508 22.8%
Minnesota 138 63,474 859 64,333 2.1%
Mississippi 4,849 540,403 12,321 552,724 43.3%
Missouri 4,159 88,820 8,363 97,183 3.1%
Montana 2,696 46,489 5,525 52,014 9.7%
Nebraska 1,530 29,446 3,079 32,525 3.1%
Nevada 55,834 165,233 124,978 290,211 18.6%
New Hampshire 0 0 0 0 0.0%
New Jersey 11,338 391,603 35,533 427,136 9.4%
New Mexico 2,691 50,908 4,976 55,884 5.8%
New York 54,723 1,010,677 108,927 1,119,604 11.7%
North Carolina 23,606 202,756 50,740 253,496 5.0%
North Dakota 671 6,951 1,520 8,471 2.1%
Ohio 48,533 598,238 98,597 696,835 12.0%
Oklahoma 1,948 0 3,774 3,774 0.2%
Oregon 4,666 25,899 8,766 34,665 1.6%
Pennsylvania 205,645 2,650,885 370,451 3,021,336 46.1%
Rhode Island 6,197 43,942 10,018 53,960 9.7%
South Carolina 11,022 72,732 22,773 95,505 4.0%
South Dakota 108 4,109 273 4,382 0.9%
Tennessee 11,164 129,748 18,045 147,793 4.4%
Texas 33,547 184,183 67,089 251,272 1.8%
Utah 1,506 10,808 3,181 13,989 0.9%
Vermont 416 9,896 834 10,730 3.2%
Virginia 13,820 280,883 25,960 306,843 6.9%
Washington 10,178 150,519 19,141 169,660 4.3%
West Virginia 0 0 0 0 0.0%
Wisconsin 2,954 21,430 6,510 27,940 0.9%
Wyoming 337 4,304 524 4,828 1.6%

Notes: Initial claims for the week ending June 20 reflect advance state claims, not seasonally adjusted.

Unless otherwise noted, the numbers in this blog post are the ones reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, which they receive from the state agencies that administer UI. While the DOL is asking states to report regular UI claims and PUA claims separately, many states appear to also be including some or all PUA claimants in their reported regular UI claims. As state agencies work to get these new programs up and running, there will likely continue to be some misreporting. Since the number of UI claims is one of the most up-to-date measures we have of labor market weakness and access to benefits, we will still be analyzing it each week as reported by DOL, but ask that you keep these caveats in mind when interpreting the data.

Source: U.S. Employment and Training Administration, Initial Claims [ICSA], retrieved from Department of Labor (DOL), https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf and https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/claims.asp, June 25, 2020.

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1. Unless otherwise noted, the numbers in this blog post are the ones reported by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), which they receive from the state agencies that administer UI. While DOL is asking states to report regular UI claims and PUA claims separately, many states are also including some or all PUA claimants in their reported regular UI claims. As state agencies work to get these new programs up and running, there will likely continue to be some misreporting. Since the number of UI claims is one of the most up-to-date measures of labor market weakness and access to benefits, we will still be analyzing it regularly as reported by DOL, but we ask that you keep these caveats in mind when interpreting the data.

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Cuts to the state and local public sector will disproportionately harm women and Black workers

The coronavirus pandemic has created a severe budget crisis for state and local governments, as tax revenue has fallen precipitously at the same time that governments are facing extraordinary demands for public health and welfare supports. Because states are severely limited in how they can borrow, the only way to address this crisis is through Congress authorizing significant additional fiscal support to state and local governments. Without federal aid, many states will likely make devastating cuts to the services and staffing they provide, sending the country into a prolonged depression with 5.3 million jobs both public and private likely lost before the end of next year.

Failing to provide aid to state and local governments would be not only be an act of needless economic self-sabotage, it would also exacerbate racial and gender disparities. If state and local governments are forced to cut personnel, those cuts are likely to fall hardest on women and Black workers.

Historically, the public sector has been a key employer for women and people of color. During the Civil Rights era of the 1960s and 1970s, the federal government—through executive actions and legislation—adopted various anti-discrimination and affirmative action measures that boosted the employment of women and Black workers in government. Now, decades later, all state and local government jobs are subject to the federal regulations requiring equal opportunity, and some states and localities have additional affirmative action programs. Consequently, state and local government has generally achieved a more diverse workplace than the private sector.

Read more

Almost four months in, joblessness remains at historic levels: Congress must extend the extra $600 in UI benefits, which expires in a little more than two weeks

Last week, 2.4 million workers applied for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. This is the 16th week in a row that unemployment claims have been more than twice the worst week of the Great Recession. Of the 2.4 million workers who applied for UI, 1.4 million applied for regular state unemployment insurance (not seasonally adjusted), and 1.0 million applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA is the federal program for workers who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance (UI), like gig workers. It took some time, but all states except New Hampshire and West Virginia are now reporting PUA claims.

It’s important to note that some initial claims from last week are likely from people who got laid off prior to last week but either waited until last week to file a claim, or applied earlier and their application had been caught in an agency backlog. Why do I think that’s likely? In May, there were more than 8 million initial claims in regular state UI programs, but last week’s Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data show there were only 1.8 million layoffs, which is back to pre-virus levels. This suggests many May UI claims were from earlier layoffs, and that dynamic is likely still in play.

Figure A shows continuing claims in all programs over time (the latest data are for June 20). Continuing claims are more than 31 million above where they were a year ago. The latest figure in “other programs” in Figure A is 1.2 million claims. Most of this (0.9 million) is Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). PEUC is the additional 13 weeks of benefits provided by the CARES Act for people who have exhausted regular state benefits. The number of people on PEUC can be expected to grow dramatically as the crisis drags on and more and more of the nearly 17 million people currently on regular state benefits exhaust their regular benefits and move on to PEUC.Read more

Hires up, layoffs down but more economic pain is on the horizon: Policymakers must act in order to protect workers’ health and economic well-being

Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that, as of the middle of June, the economy was still 14.7 million jobs below where it was in February. Today’s BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) reports that the labor market was down 13.1 million jobs at the end of May. The labor market began picking up in May, and more so in June, as states began relaxing their stay at home orders. Congress’s aid to workers and households also helped to boost demand and spending. Unfortunately, what’s clear from the latest coronavirus data is that the relaxed restrictions on social distancing also had the effect of increased cases and subsequent re-shuttering in certain parts of the country.

Today’s data show that at the end of May, the number of hires increased by 2.4 million to a series high of 6.5 million—the largest monthly increase and largest number of hires on record (series began in 2000). The hires rate also rebounded significantly to 4.9%, the highest rate on record. At the same time, layoffs dropped considerably to 1.8 million, consistent with the average number of layoffs in the pre-coronavirus period. This is a significant fall off from previous months. In April and May, layoffs totaled 19.2 million. Further, 1.8 million layoffs is much lower than the initial unemployment insurance (UI) claims we saw in May. In May, there were more than 8 million initial UI claims in regular state programs. This suggests is that a significant share of the initial UI claims in May were from layoffs in March or April, and people either waited to file claims until May, or state agencies were working through backlogs of claims.

Unfortunately, there are more recent indicators that layoffs are going to pick up again as people being laid off for the second time and hires will likely slow as well.Read more

What to watch on jobs day: A false start to the recovery

The latest jobs data for June released this Thursday will likely show some improvements in the labor market. We should remember that these improvements come at a cost: increased spread of COVID-19. In the states that have lifted restrictions ahead of others, there are measurable increases in coronavirus cases. Given the likelihood that states may have to re-shutter parts of their economies with the rise in cases, the job gains we saw last month may not last. So, even if we continue to see job gains in this week’s jobs report, the losses this spring were mammoth and, given recent trends on the health front plus the upcoming fiscal cliff, the economic pain will certainly be long lasting.

On Thursday morning, we will also get the latest data on unemployment insurance claims for the week ending June 27. Later that day the Congressional Budget Office will be releasing their economic forecasts, which provide their estimates of future economic growth and the unemployment rate, among other key economic indicators. (At the end of the blog post, I list reminders on what information we get from each labor market data release.) Unfortunately, these releases will show enormous economic hardship that will last for a long time.

As I see it, policymakers have three primary objectives with regard to the labor market: First, make sure those who have to go to work are given adequate compensation and a safe work environment, which means, at a minimum, guaranteeing health and safety protections for workers so that they are able to protect themselves and members of their families from contracting COVID. Second, make it possible for workers who are unable to find a safe job to stay home without becoming financially devastated by delivering sufficient earnings replacement through the unemployment insurance system. Third, ensure the economy can fully recover when we get on the other side of the pandemic.Read more

Nearly 11% of the workforce is out of work with no reasonable chance of getting called back to a prior job

Key takeaways:

  • In May, the official unemployment rate was 13.3%. However, the unemployment rate that takes into account all those who are out of work as a result of the virus was 19.7%, and the unemployment rate that includes only those who are out of work and don’t have a reasonable chance of being called back to a prior job was 10.7%.
    • The official unemployment rate was 13.3% in May. However, if you consider not just the 21.0 million officially unemployed, but all 32.5 million workers who are either officially unemployed or otherwise out of work as a result of the virus, that jumps to 19.7%. That is nearly one in five workers.
    • Of the 32.5 million workers who are either officially unemployed or otherwise out of work because of the virus, 11.9 million workers, or 7.2% of the workforce, are out of work with no hope of being called back to a prior job; 5.7 million workers, or 3.5% of the workforce, are out of work and expect to get called back to a prior job but likely will not; and 14.8 million workers, or 9.0% of the workforce, are out of work and can reasonably expect to be called back. That means the share of the workforce that is out of work and has no reasonable chance of being called back to a prior job is 10.7% (7.2% + 3.5%).
  • All three of these unemployment rates are extremely elevated across all demographic groups. However, the highest rates are found among Black and brown workers, women, and particularly Hispanic, Asian, and Black women. Young workers and workers with lower levels of education have also been hit disproportionately hard.
  • It is important to note that the prospect of even those who can reasonably expect to be called back to a prior job actually getting called back will require Congress to act. For example, if Congress doesn’t extend the extra $600 in weekly unemployment insurance payments, that will cost us 5.1 million jobs over the next year, and if it doesn’t provide fiscal aid to state and local governments to fill in their budget shortfalls, it will cost another 5.3 million jobs by the end of 2021.

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Expanded unemployment insurance continues to be a crucial lifeline for millions of workers: See updated state unemployment data

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released the most recent unemployment insurance (UI) claims data yesterday, showing that another 1.5 million people filed for regular UI benefits last week (not seasonally adjusted) and 0.7 million for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the new program for workers who aren’t eligible for regular UI, such as gig workers. As we look at the aggregate measures of economic harm, it is important to remember that this recession is deepening racial inequalities. Black communities are suffering more from this pandemic—both physically and economically—as a result of, and in addition to, systemic racism and violence. Both Black and Hispanic workers are more likely than white workers to be worried about exposure to coronavirus at work and bringing it home to their families. These communities, and Black women in particular, should be centered in policy solutions.

As of last week, more than one in five people in the workforce are either receiving or have recently applied for unemployment benefits—regular or PUA. These benefits are a critical lifeline that help workers make ends meet while practicing the necessary social distancing to stop the spread of coronavirus. In fact, the $600 increase in weekly UI benefits was likely the most effective measure in the CARES Act for insulating workers from economic harm and jump-starting an eventual economic rebound, and it should be extended past July.

To be clear, our top priority right now should be protecting the health and safety of workers and our broader communities. To accomplish this, we should be paying workers to stay home when possible, whether that means working from home some or all of the time, using paid leave, or claiming UI benefits. When workers are providing absolutely essential services, they must have access to adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and paid sick leave.

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Cutting off the $600 boost to unemployment benefits would be both cruel and bad economics: New personal income data show just how steep the coming fiscal cliff will be

Key takeaways:

  • The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released data today on personal income showing that the extra $600 in weekly unemployment insurance (UI) benefits—set to expire at the end of July—boosted incomes by $842 billion in May (expressed at an annualized rate).
  • We estimate that extending the $600 UI benefits through the middle of 2021 would provide an average quarterly boost to gross domestic product (GDP) of 3.7% and employment of 5.1 million workers.
  • The economy’s growth will continue to be tightly constrained by insufficient demand for goods and services, and cutting off a policy support that helps households maintain spending is a terrible idea, both for these households’ welfare and for macroeconomic stabilization.

Congress passed the CARES Act in March to provide relief and recovery from the economic effects of the coronavirus. By far the best part of the CARES Act was a significant expansion of the unemployment insurance (UI) system, which included a $600 per week boost to UI benefits. Congress settled on a flat $600 top-up to weekly benefits because the antiquated state UI administrative capacity could not handle more tailored ways to increase UI benefit generosity, and giving everybody an extra $600 guaranteed that most workers would receive at least as much in UI benefits as they did from their previous employment.

In normal times, economists and policymakers have focused a lot of attention (almost surely too much) on the incentive effects of UI benefits. If these benefits were too generous, the worry was that this would blunt workers’ incentives to actively search for new jobs. The negative economic impacts of these incentive effects have always been exaggerated, but these effects become truly trivial during times when the economy’s growth is clearly constrained by insufficient aggregate demand (spending by households, businesses, and governments).

When growth is demand-constrained, there are more potential workers than available jobs, so hounding these potential workers into more intense job-searching by making UI benefits less generous doesn’t result in more jobs being created, it just results in more frustrated job searches. This logic became even more compelling during the first phase of the economic collapse caused by the coronavirus. Not only were there not enough jobs to employ willing workers, for public health reasons we didn’t want enough jobs to employ these workers, as the shutdown in economic activity and employment was the point of lockdown measures. Even as official lockdowns ease in coming months (often prematurely), jobs will be sharply constrained by demand, not workers’ incentives.

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More than three months in, job losses remain at historic levels: Over one in five workers are either on unemployment benefits or are waiting to get on

Last week, 2.2 million workers applied for unemployment benefits. This is the 14th week in a row that initial unemployment claims are more than twice the worst week of the Great Recession.

Of the 2.2 million who applied for unemployment benefits last week, 1.5 million applied for regular state unemployment insurance (UI) on a not-seasonally-adjusted basis, and 0.7 million applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA is the federal program for workers who are out of work because of the virus but who are not eligible for regular UI (e.g., the self-employed). At this point, 46 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico are reporting PUA claims.

Overall, things are not really improving. Figure A shows continuing claims in all programs—these data allow us to see how recipiency levels have changed over time (the latest date continuing claims are available for all programs is June 6). After the peak on May 9, claims declined somewhat, but increased in the latest data—nearly back to the peak—and are more than 29 million above where they were a year ago (which was 1.5 million).

Figure A

Continuing unemployment claims in all programs: January 4, 2020–June 6, 2020

Regular state UI PUA Other programs (mostly PEUC and STC)
2020-01-04 2,245,684 0 32,520
2020-01-11 2,137,910 0 33,882
2020-01-18 2,075,857 0 32,625
2020-01-25 2,148,764 0 35,828
2020-02-01 2,084,204 0 33,884
2020-02-08 2,095,001 0 35,605
2020-02-15 2,057,774 0 34,683
2020-02-22 2,101,301 0 35,440
2020-02-29 2,054,129 0 33,053
2020-03-07 1,973,560 0 32,803
2020-03-14 2,071,070 0 34,149
2020-03-21 3,410,969 0 36,758
2020-03-28 8,158,043 0 48,963
2020-04-04 12,444,309 0 64,201
2020-04-11 16,249,334 136,417 117,331
2020-04-18 17,756,054 994,850 168,467
2020-04-25 21,723,230 3,402,409 237,569
2020-05-02 20,823,141 6,102,381 338,016
2020-05-09 22,725,217 7,793,066 438,839
2020-05-16 18,788,626 10,740,918 435,871
2020-05-23 19,022,578 9,715,948 766,537
2020-05-30 18,548,442 9,374,248 1,336,818
2020-06-06 18,330,151 11,046,401 1,177,265
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The data below can be saved or copied directly into Excel.

Notes: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is the federal program for workers who are out of work because of the virus but who are not eligible for regular state unemployment insurance benefits (e.g., the self-employed). “Other programs” includes Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Short-Time Compensation (STC), and others; a full list can be found in the bottom panel of the table on page 4 at this link: https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf.

Source: U.S. Employment and Training Administration, Initial Claims [ICSA], retrieved from Department of Labor (DOL), https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/docs/persons.xls and https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf, June 25, 2020.

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The latest figure in “other programs” in Figure A is 1.2 million claims. Most of this (0.9 million) is Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). PEUC is the additional 13 weeks of benefits provided by the CARES Act for people who have exhausted regular state benefits. PEUC declined somewhat in the latest data, but we can expect the number of people on PEUC to grow dramatically as the crisis drags on and more and more of the nearly 18 million people currently on regular state benefits exhaust their regular benefits and move on to PEUC.

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‘Black women best’: Why putting Black women first may save us from economic disaster

In 2008, our economy experienced an economic crisis in which Black women lost 258,000 jobs—more than twice as many as the jobs gained by Black men.

Our current economic crisis is unfortunately offering up disparity déjà vu. The ravages of the coronavirus have resulted in employment among Black women dropping 11 percentage points—more than any other group. Despite historically low unemployment rates in March, within a month of the pandemic, Black women’s unemployment rate has climbed to 16.9%, suffering the greatest job losses as compared with other groups.

Figure A

Employment has dropped sharply in the COVID-19 labor market—Black women face the largest losses: Employment-to-population ratio by race and gender, February–April 2020

February March April
All white workers 61.3% 60.2 51.8 
All Black workers 59.4  57.8 48.8
White men 67.5  66.2 58.3
White women 55.4  54.5 45.5
Black men 60.7  59.6 50.5
Black women 58.4  56.2 47.4

 

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Note: White refers to non-Hispanic whites, Black refers to Blacks alone. The employment-to-population ratio is the share of the population who are working.

Source: EPI analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey public data.

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Black women are bearing the brunt of this economic crisis, and keep in mind that Black women were already underpaid upwards of $50 billion in forfeited wages before the pandemic, according to economist Michelle Holder. These findings illustrate an ugly truth: COVID-19 is laying bare the structural inequities that compound when race and gender intersect—inequities that may be best addressed through recentering economic policy on Black women.

Why should policymakers center Black women?

Black women are the core of the nation’s economy, holding the front-line jobs and running small businesses, and they are more often the single heads of households in their communities. If they are elevated through policy, including everything from paid sick leave to stimulus programs targeted directly toward them, the economy at-large will benefit.

Unfortunately, decisions that have already been made don’t take racial and gender inequities into account.

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Now is still a good time to raise the minimum wage

With minimum wages set to rise next week in Nevada, Oregon, Illinois, and the District of Columbia—as well as in Chicago, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and 12 other smaller cities and counties—it’s not surprising that business groups that always oppose higher minimum wages are calling for states and cities to put scheduled increases on hold in light of the coronavirus pandemic. There is no question that the pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for state and local economies, but the case for raising wages for low-wage workers hasn’t changed. If anything, current conditions make it even more important for governments to strengthen pay standards, especially those that help low-income households.

The number one problem for businesses right now isn’t excessive labor costs, it’s a lack of demand. The federal government’s failure to quickly implement large-scale testing, contact tracing, and containment programs in the early days of the coronavirus’s spread forced most state and local governments to effectively put their economies into hibernation—limiting business activity to slow the spread of the virus. As cities and states reopen their economies, the central challenge for businesses and economic policymakers will be restoring consumer demand and making regular economic activity safe in the face of continued legitimate concern over the virus.

From a general macroeconomic perspective, raising the minimum wage in a period of depressed consumer demand is smart policy. Minimum wage hikes put extra dollars in the pockets of people who are highly likely to spend every additional cent they receive, often just to make ends meet. Workers who benefit from an increased minimum wage disproportionately come from low-income households that spend a larger share of their income than business owners, corporate shareholders, and higher-income households, who are likely to save at least some portion of the dollars that finance a minimum wage hike. As a result, raising the minimum wage boosts overall consumer demand, with research showing that past raises have spurred greater household buying, notably on dining out and automobiles. (Such findings are a good reminder that relatively small increases in a worker’s paycheck might be all that is needed for them to qualify for an auto loan or a mortgage.)

Because a higher minimum wage lifts up lower-income households—although some middle-income households benefit, too—it is likely to have a stronger effect than many—possibly even most—other recession response measures state and local policymakers might consider. Tax breaks or deferrals, rent subsidies, expanded lending programs, and other business-oriented relief measures all can help firms weather a downturn, but they’re not going to drive additional spending in the same way that a minimum wage hike does.

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Trump’s ban on temporary work visas is an attempt to scapegoat immigrants during an economic collapse: Real reform would improve wages and working conditions

President Trump has issued a new proclamation, “Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak,” that will halt the issuance of certain major categories of nonimmigrant (i.e., temporary) work visas until the end of 2020, and calls for a number of rule changes with respect to work visas and work authorization. (A presidential proclamation is essentially the same as an executive order.) This follows his April proclamation that would suspend a third of immigrant visas from being issued (immigrant visas are also known as “green cards,” which confer foreign residents with lawful permanent resident status that can eventually lead to citizenship). The language in the April proclamation, which was initially valid for 60 days, also directed federal agencies to examine nonimmigrant work visas; this new proclamation appears to be the result of that effort. Trump’s new proclamation extends the duration of the April proclamation banning certain green cards until the end of 2020.

Trump’s June 2020 proclamation will suspend the issuance of new temporary work visas to migrants and their family members if they are applying from abroad, between now and December 31, 2020, but does not appear to suspend the issuance of visa statuses for those applying from within the United States. The impacted visa classifications are the H-1B for occupations requiring a college degree, H-2B for low-wage jobs outside of agriculture, L-1 for intracompany transferees and personnel with specialized knowledge, and some of the major programs that authorize employment in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, specifically the J-1 Intern, Trainee, Teacher, Camp Counselor, Au Pair, and Summer Work Travel programs.

While most of these visa classifications are issued to applicants at consulates abroad and are therefore suspended, the H-1B is an exception. In 2019, 60% of new H-1Bs were issued to migrants who were already present in the United States, often on a student visa. Therefore, the H-1B program will be less impacted in terms of a reduction in visas. (It may even result in a higher share of foreign graduates of U.S. universities being granted H-1B status, since they’ll be applying from within the country.)

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Workers are striking during the coronavirus: Labor law must be reformed to strengthen this fundamental right

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed much about work in the United States: There have been countless examples of workers speaking out against unsafe work conditions and demanding personal protective equipment (PPE) to try and stay healthy and safe on the job. We also have seen that essential workers are often not paid commensurate with the critical nature of their work. Few U.S. workers have access to paid sick time or paid leave of any kind. And, when workers have advocated for health and safety protections or wage increase, they have often been retaliated against, and even fired for doing so. As a result, many workers have decided to strike in an effort to have their voices heard.

Even before the pandemic, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed an upsurge in major strike activity in 2018 and 2019, marking a 35-year high for the number of workers involved in a major work stoppage over a two-year period. Further, 2019 recorded the greatest number of work stoppages involving 20,000 or more workers since at least 1993, when the BLS started providing data that made it possible to track work stoppages by size. In fact, after decades of decline, strike activity surged in 2018, with 485,200 workers involved in major work stoppages—a nearly twenty-fold increase from 25,300 workers in 2017. The surge in strike activity continued in 2019, with 425,500 workers involved in major work stoppages. On average in 2018 and in 2019, 455,400 workers were involved in major work stoppages—the largest two-year average in 35 years.

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DACA survives at SCOTUS: For now, ‘Dreamers’ will continue to be protected from deportation, but a permanent solution is urgently needed

Almost eight years to the day after President Obama announced his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, better known as DACA, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has issued a decision in Department of Homeland Security et al. v. Regents of the University of California et al.—the litigation concerning whether the Trump administration’s attempt to end DACA was carried out lawfully. In a stunning rebuke to the Trump administration’s ham-handed rescission of DACA, the highest court in the land—which has a majority of staunchly conservative justices—ruled 5–4 that the Trump administration failed to comply with the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when ending DACA. In doing so, SCOTUS upheld the findings of three lower courts that also determined the APA had not been complied with and that had allowed DACA to remain in effect via a nationwide injunction while the legal challenges continued. As a result, DACA will continue to exist, for now.

The immediate practical impact of the SCOTUS ruling on DACA cannot be overstated: It means 650,000 undocumented U.S. residents who were brought to the United States as children won’t lose their current protection from deportation. They can continue to attend school and work lawfully, and they can keep contributing to their communities and local economies.

The DACA initiative didn’t provide a permanent legal status, only a temporary reprieve from deportation that can be renewed every two years, along with the ability to obtain a Social Security Number and an employment authorization document. Nevertheless, this stopgap measure that DACA represents, which keeps immigrants from being deported to a country they can barely remember, has resulted in significant economic and educational achievements for DACA recipients. Being able to work lawfully and without the specter of deportation looming over them means DACA recipients are able to have basic labor rights, which in turn have translated into wage gains. How big are the wage gains? According to a study and survey conducted by Professor Tom Wong and United We Dream, the National Immigration Law Center, and the Center for American Progress, the hourly wages earned by DACA recipients increased 86% since they received DACA, from $10.46 per hour to $19.45 per hour. The wage gains were even higher for DACA recipients who are 25 and older—128%—from $10.64 per hour to $23.70. Wage gains of this magnitude can literally be the difference between being in poverty and entering the middle class.

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A quarter of a year in, job losses remain at historic levels: More than one in five workers are either on unemployment benefits or are waiting to get on

Last week, 2.2 million workers applied for unemployment benefits. This is the 13th week in a row—a full three months—that initial unemployment claims are more than twice the worst week of the Great Recession.

Of the 2.2 million who applied for unemployment benefits last week, 1.4 million applied for regular state unemployment insurance (UI) on a not-seasonally-adjusted basis, and 0.8 million applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA is the federal program for workers who are out of work because of the virus but who are not eligible for regular UI (e.g., the self-employed). At this point, only 44 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico are reporting PUA claims.

How is it that we are still seeing large numbers of initial unemployment claims now, when the May jobs report shows we added jobs? The missing piece is hiring. If there are a large number of layoffs, there can still be job growth if there is also a lot of hiring (or rehiring). In today’s gradually reopening coronavirus economy, hires (or rehires) are now outpacing job losses, but we are still seeing a huge number of people losing jobs. This means labor market “churn” is vastly greater than in normal times.

Further, some recent unemployment claims may be from people who lost their job in March or April but didn’t apply right away (perhaps because they couldn’t get through the system).

Many commentators are still reporting the cumulative number of initial regular state UI claims over the last 13 weeks as a measure of how many people are out of work because of the virus. I believe we should abandon that approach because it ignores PUA but overstates things in other ways (for example, some who were laid off and applied for UI in March or April may now be going back to work). Instead, we can calculate the total number of workers who are either on unemployment benefits, or have applied and are waiting to see if they will get benefits, in the following way:

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An open letter to economic institutions in the face of #BlackLivesMatter: Addressed to our allies in the economics community

This open letter from The Sadie Collective Community was published on Medium on June 11, 2020. The Sadie Collective is the first American nonprofit organization that aims to increase the representation of Black women in economics and related fields.

This letter is about whether you will choose to stand on the right side of history as your Black colleagues are hurting. Every day we do our best to show up for work, despite understanding that COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted our communities. Additionally, over the past weeks, the proliferation of news highlighting the plight of unjust police brutality plagues us. Many of us attempt to cope with the current reality and still show up for work, an all too familiar lifestyle of double consciousness, coping with the current reality of our broader lives while showing up, always at our “best,” in the workplace. This letter is not a plea for your sympathy, but rather a call to action for allies who understand the systemic violence that has led to dozens of protests across the United States. As demonstrations and the movement at large are being undermined by white supremacists, accelerationism and senior economists, it is necessary that the field take deliberate measures to address the exclusion of Black economists.

Within our nation, systemic racism is an age-old problem, demonstrated most recently by the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. The systemic oppression of Black people enables this form of direct violence at the hands of the police, along with countless other varieties throughout society at large. We need a vocal and action-oriented approach which shows you care that your Black colleagues do not walk through the world living in fear of how their lives are disregarded in America. We are reaching out because we are concerned with your immediate acknowledgment, coupled with meaningful action to address this issue.

Here are examples of institutions who have demonstrated a commitment to making or upholding change:

  • University of Minnesota: The institution will be scaling back ties with the Minnesota Police Department who is responsible for the death of George Floyd.
  • YouTube: Released a statement of concern and donated $1M in support of efforts to address issues of social injustice.
  • Glossier: The platform released a statement of concern and will be donating $500K in grants to Black-owned beauty supply companies and donating $500K across organizations that are committed to combating racial injustice.
  • Top Tech Companies: The linked companies have issued a statement and are being tracked. Note that the data on Black employees are not disaggregated, so for companies with a high number of Black employees, there is still much work to be done. We do recognize that acknowledgment is a step in the right direction
  • National Economic Association: The organization released a statement which condemned the disproportionate use of lethal force on Black people in a way that was not just filled with platitudes but with a denunciation of injustice, maltreatment, and racism is not only policing but in the economic and social structures of the U.S. as a whole.

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Updated state unemployment numbers: In 10 states, more than one in six workers are receiving or have filed for regular unemployment

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released the most recent unemployment insurance (UI) claims data yesterday, showing that another 1.5 million people filed for regular UI benefits last week (not seasonally adjusted) and 0.7 million for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the new program for workers who aren’t eligible for regular UI, such as gig workers. As we look at the aggregate measures of economic harm, it is important to remember that this recession is deepening racial inequalities. Black communities are suffering more from this pandemic—both physically and economically—as a result of, and in addition to, systemic racism and violence.

As of last week, more than one in five people in the workforce are either receiving or have recently applied for unemployment benefits—regular or PUA. These benefits are a critical lifeline that help workers make ends meet while practicing the necessary social distancing to stop the spread of coronavirus. In fact, the $600 increase in weekly UI benefits was perhaps the most effective measure in the CARES Act for insulating workers from economic harm and jump-starting an eventual economic rebound, and it should be extended past July.

Figure A and Table 1 show the total number of workers who either made it through at least the first round of regular state UI processing as of May 30 (these are known as “continued” claims) or filed initial regular UI claims during the weeks of May 30 or June 6. Figure A and Table 2 show the total number of workers who either made it through at least the first round of PUA processing by May 23 or filed initial PUA claims during the weeks of May 23, May 30, or June 6. We do not sum the two totals together because some states have misreported PUA claims in their initial claims data, leading to potential double counting.1

Figure A

New and cumulative jobless claims by state: Unemployment insurance (UI) claims filed and numbers and shares of workers either receiving unemployment benefits or waiting for approval during the week ending June 6

State Initial regular UI claims filed in most recent week Total currently receiving or applied for regular UI Regular UI as a share of labor force Total currently receiving or applied for PUA
Alabama 19,347 211,071 9.4% 57,855
Alaska 7,427 61,448 17.8% 19,391
Arizona 22,879 247,046 6.8% 894,313
Arkansas 9,151 128,906 9.4% 0
California 258,060 3,341,467 17.1% 1,300,660
Colorado 13,128 289,379 9.1% 128,813
Connecticut 15,279 300,197 15.6% 54,199
Delaware 2,921 62,098 12.7% 0
Washington D.C. 3,291 77,133 18.6% 0
Florida 110,520 1,254,775 12.0% 0
Georgia 134,711 977,160 19.0% 0
Hawaii 6,694 133,425 19.9% 120,250
Idaho 3,665 53,704 6.0% 2,365
Illinois 44,814 834,372 13.0% 109,502
Indiana 23,604 273,829 8.1% 256,794
Iowa 10,112 176,527 10.1% 21,156
Kansas 8,824 124,021 8.3% 48,615
Kentucky 40,536 280,346 13.5% 0
Louisiana 22,002 341,096 16.2% 201,381
Maine 3,031 90,444 13.0% 93,193
Maryland 41,104 310,969 9.5% 234,866
Massachusetts 44,732 639,945 16.7% 1,105,114
Michigan 28,504 910,062 18.4% 1,767,907
Minnesota 29,209 461,435 14.8% 73,040
Mississippi 21,021 196,782 15.4% 74,600
Missouri 18,587 269,277 8.7% 84,860
Montana 2,892 50,875 9.5% 70,751
Nebraska 4,729 68,801 6.6% 21,238
Nevada 13,200 350,953 22.5% 477,579
New Hampshire 6,055 114,212 14.7% 0
New Jersey 22,621 606,794 13.3% 546,712
New Mexico 5,913 119,986 12.5% 51,355
New York 94,348 1,881,352 19.7% 1,303,899
North Carolina 33,148 600,561 11.7% 186,650
North Dakota 2,527 39,418 9.7% 9,014
Ohio 35,474 581,932 10.0% 554,102
Oklahoma 50,397 260,857 14.1% 4,275
Oregon 23,445 501,756 23.8% 0
Pennsylvania 50,088 953,018 14.5% 1,272,259
Rhode Island 3,485 83,510 15.0% 49,364
South Carolina 22,734 251,486 10.5% 121,961
South Dakota 817 22,827 4.9% 5,313
Tennessee 21,417 347,419 10.3% 99,535
Texas 89,736 1,437,877 10.1% 337,388
Utah 5,452 88,494 5.4% 16,385
Vermont 1,560 47,844 14.1% 12,457
Virginia 30,164 457,579 10.3% 219,996
Washington 33,502 534,974 13.5% 220,742
West Virginia 4,216 99,883 12.4% 0
Wisconsin 25,731 306,455 9.9% 16,560
Wyoming 1,610 20,886 7.1% 3,833

Notes: Initial claims for the week ending June 6 reflect advance state claims, not seasonally adjusted. For comparisons to the size of the labor force, we use February 2020 levels. Totals reflect the number of workers whose have made it through at least the first round of processing or are waiting for their claim to be processed.

Unless otherwise noted, the numbers in this blog post are the ones reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, which they receive from the state agencies that administer UI. While the DOL is asking states to report regular UI claims and PUA claims separately, many states appear to also be including some or all PUA claimants in their reported regular UI claims. As state agencies work to get these new programs up and running, there will likely continue to be some misreporting. Since the number of UI claims is one of the most up-to-date measures we have of labor market weakness and access to benefits, we will still be analyzing it each week as reported by DOL, but ask that you keep these caveats in mind when interpreting the data.

Source: U.S. Employment and Training Administration, Initial Claims [ICSA], retrieved from Department of Labor (DOL), https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf and https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/claims.asp, June 11, 2020.

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Three months in, the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic continues: More than one in five workers are either on unemployment benefits or are waiting to get on

Last week, 2.2 million workers applied for unemployment benefits. This is the twelfth week in a row that initial unemployment claims are have been more than twice the worst week of the Great Recession.

Of the 2.2 million who applied for unemployment benefits last week, 1.5 million applied for regular state unemployment insurance (UI), and 0.7 million applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA is the federal program for workers who are out of work because of the virus but who are not eligible for regular UI (e.g., the self-employed). At this point, only 42 states and Puerto Rico are reporting PUA claims. This means PUA claims are still being undercounted.

How is it that we are seeing large numbers of initial unemployment claims now, when the jobs report from last Friday shows we added jobs in May? One key thing is the fact that the unemployment benefits numbers don’t account for changes in hiring. If there are a large number of layoffs, there can still be job growth if there is also a lot of hiring (or rehiring). Further, some unemployment claims since April may be from people who actually lost their job in March or April but didn’t apply right away (perhaps because they couldn’t get through the system).

Many commentators are still reporting the cumulative number of initial regular state UI claims over the last 12 weeks as a measure of how many people are out of work because of the virus. I believe we should abandon that approach because it ignores PUA—and is thus an understatement on that front—but overstates things in other ways (for example, some who were laid off and applied for UI in March or April may now be going back to work). Instead, we can calculate the total number of workers who are either on unemployment benefits, or have applied and are waiting to see if they will get benefits, in the following way:

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Without federal aid to state and local governments, 5.3 million workers will likely lose their jobs by the end of 2021: See estimated job losses by state

Last week, EPI hosted a bipartisan panel of economists who called upon policymakers to pass significant federal aid for state and local governments in coming months. This panel’s judgement was unanimous that federal aid for subnational governments is crucial for helping the economy mount a rapid recovery from the current crisis. In this post, we highlight that:

  • If policymakers do nothing at the federal level to address these shortfalls, the United States could end 2021 with 5.3 million fewer jobs, with losses in every state.
  • Further, if Congress passes some level of aid that is insufficient—less than $1 trillionthey will needlessly guarantee a significant job gap by the end of 2021.
    • If they pass $500 billion of aid over that time, the jobs gap will likely be roughly 2.6 million. If they pass $300 billion of aid, the jobs gap will likely be roughly 3.7 million.
  • While empirical estimates of the shortfall should guide policymakers’ thinking, they can (and actually should) avoid putting a firm sticker price on state and local aid by tying this aid to economic conditions. If the economy recovers faster than the forecasts driving the $1 trillion estimated shortfall indicate will happen, then less aid would be needed. If instead recovery lagged, more would be needed.
  • Finally, filling in the estimated shortfalls would merely return state and local governments to their pre-crisis fiscal status quo. But the unique features of the current economic shock will put greater demands on public services than existed before the crisis. To go beyond macroeconomic stabilization and promote the general welfare, even more federal aid to these governments is likely needed.

Because a weakening economy undercuts state and local tax revenues, and because states operate under balanced budget constraints, the coming months will see intense downward pressure on state and local spending. Reductions in this spending will in turn significantly slow recovery from the current economic crisis. This is not an abstract concern—the historically slow recovery in state and local spending following the Great Recession by itself delayed a recovery in unemployment to pre-crisis levels by four full years.

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The U.S. economy remains in an enormous jobs deficit: The labor market was down 15.9 million jobs at the end of April (JOLTS data), and down 19.6 million at the middle of May (jobs data)

Quick reminders about the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS):

  • JOLTS data provide information on all pieces that go into the net change in the number of jobs. These components include: hires, layoffs, voluntary quits, and other job separations (which includes retirements and worker deaths). Putting those components together reveals the overall (or net) change.
  • JOLTS data provide information about the end of one month to the end of the next, whereas the monthly employment numbers provide information from the middle of one month to the middle of the next.

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data for April, showing the second-highest number of job separations on record (March was the highest) and the lowest level of hires on record. One important thing to understand about JOLTS data is the timing. JOLTS data provide information from the end of one month to the end of the next, whereas the monthly employment numbers provide information from the middle of one month to the middle of the next. The JOLTS data showed that 6.4 million jobs were lost from the end of March to the end of April. The monthly employment numbers straddle these numbers, showing that 20.7 million jobs were lost from mid-March to mid-April, and 2.5 million jobs were gained from mid-April to mid-May. Together, the JOLTS data and the monthly employment numbers paint a picture of the peak of job loss in this recession being in late March or early April, and people beginning to go back to work by the beginning of May. But no matter how you measure it, the U.S. economy remains in an enormous jobs deficit—we were down a total of 15.9 million jobs at the end of April (according to the JOLTS data), and down a total of 19.6 million at the middle of May (according to the monthly employment data).

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The Fed’s crisis response: Helping corporations, yes, but mostly at the expense of financial predators

A number of recent articles imply that Americans should be mad at the Federal Reserve for bailing out the rich in the coronavirus crisis. This seems wrong to me. We should be mad at nearly every other policymaker—mostly Congress and the president—for failing to do enough to bail out typical working families.

The Fed, conversely, has maximized the weak tools it has available right now for helping these families. Maybe we should give the Fed more and better tools for future recessions—but it’s not useful to get mad at the Fed for failing to do things it can’t do right now.

This is not to say the Fed is a force for good always and everywhere. There really are times when the Fed intervenes on the side of corporate interests in what is essentially a distributive conflict between labor and capital. (By “capital” I’m including the corporate managers who serve as corporate agents and whose rewards trade off pretty sharply against typical workers’ pay.) Usually the Fed’s intervention on behalf of capital occurs when it cuts economic expansions short by raising interest rates in the name of controlling inflation, robbing typical workers of the leverage to secure faster wage growth that really tight labor markets could give them. As we have often written, these actions by the Fed have been hugely consequential, contributing significantly to the disastrously slow wage growth for the bottom 80% of the U.S. workforce for most of the last 40 years.

However, lots of recent evidence suggests that the Fed—now recognizing how distributionally important these past episodes have been—is genuinely concerned about avoiding the kind of prematurely contractionary policies that curtail employment possibilities for traditionally disadvantaged groups and hamstring typical workers’ wage growth. This has been a huge progressive win.

Today’s Fed intervention is not part of a capital–labor conflict

By lending to and buying the debt of private businesses in response to the coronavirus crisis, the Fed is not wading into a capital–labor conflict on the wrong side. Instead, it is wading into a conflict between nonfinancial capital and financial predators.

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Black deaths at the hands of law enforcement are linked to historical lynchings: U.S. counties where lynchings were more prevalent from 1877 to 1950 have more officer-involved killings

“A lynching is much more than just a murder. A murder may occur in private. A lynching is a public spectacle; it demands an audience… A lynching is a majority’s way of telling a minority population that the law cannot protect it.” — Aatish Taseer, British journalist

George Floyd’s death was more than just a murder, it was a modern-day lynching.

The agonizing similarity in the death of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, is that current and former police officers participated in their lynching. From 1877 to 1950, nearly 4,000 individuals were the victims of lynchings. Some have speculated that as many as 75% of historical lynchings  “were perpetrated with the direct or indirect assistance of law enforcement personnel.” Despite drawing attention from large crowds, many perpetrators of historical lynchings were never charged with a crime—a fact seen in many modern-day officer-involved shootings.

While historical lynchings peaked more than a century ago, these racist acts can be linked to officer-involved shootings today.

Using county-level data on historical lynchings and present-day officer-involved shootingsFigure A shows that historical lynchings are positively associated with officer-involved shootings for Blacks. That is, counties that experienced a higher number of historical lynchings have larger shares of officer-involved shootings of Blacks in the last five years.

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What to watch on jobs day: The unemployment rate continues to climb but not equally for all demographic groups

In April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 20.5 million jobs were lost and the unemployment rate rose faster than ever before, hitting 14.7%, the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. May’s unemployment rate is expected to be far higher. Initial unemployment insurance claims suggest an excess of 10 million more people lost their jobs between mid-April and mid-May, the reference period for tomorrow’s report.

In advance of tomorrow’s jobs data from BLS, let’s take a minute to look more closely at the unemployment rate across various demographic groups and consider the extent of economic pain missed in the official count of the unemployed. Because of the use of the microdata in our calculations, the numbers in the figure below are not seasonally adjusted and therefore do not match the topline seasonally adjusted data released by BLS. The microdata, however, allow us to measure the unemployment rate and calculate the adjusted unemployment rate across a variety of groups not reported by the BLS.

The official unemployment rate is in dark blue in Figure A below. As you can see, the unemployment rate is incredibly high across the board. Except for those with an advanced degree, the unemployment rate of all groups has exceeded the highest level the overall unemployment rate hit at the height of the Great Recession, when it reached 10.0% in 2009 (and all groups have exceeded their group’s highest unemployment of the Great Recession). Even though jobs were lost across the board, the data indicate that job losses were particularly stark for black and brown workers, those who are less likely to be able to economically weather the storm. Historically higher unemployment rates and lower liquid savings make job losses even more devastating for African American workers and their families.

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Release incarcerated Ohioans to flatten the coronavirus curve

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine acted quickly and decisively in March to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections in this Midwestern state, closing schools, restaurants, and other gathering places. He also took action by postponing the March primary to slow the spread of the virus, protect vulnerable populations, and keep hospitals from being overwhelmed.

Although not without controversy, these steps appear to have kept hospitals from being overwhelmed in the early months of the pandemic. And while the death toll is still rising, its climb has not been as steep as some models had predicted.

Gov. DeWine has not given the same attention to protecting incarcerated Ohioans and the workers who guard and serve them. At the end of May, the Marshall Project reported that Ohio’s state prison system has reported more deaths of incarcerated people than any other state system in the United States and more than the federal prison system. Ohio’s system has the third-highest per capita death rate among incarcerated people, behind Michigan and New Jersey.

No matter where we live or what we look like, we all want to make sure our loved ones are safe and healthy.

That’s why it’s important to call out the governor’s lack of action to save lives in Ohio prisons, which has a potentially disproportionate impact on black Ohioans. Of the nearly 48,000 people in Ohio prisons, approximately 47% of the men and 74% of the women are black; in contrast, 12% of the state’s total population is black. Black people are disproportionately represented among corrections officers as well, making up 18% of Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) staff in that role.

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Close to one in four workers are either on unemployment benefits or are waiting to receive them: Congress must take action

Over the last week, I have been consumed with pain and anger over the police murders of George Floyd and so many other Black people—murders rooted in a long history of white supremacy and lynchings in the United States. That long history of white supremacy has profound effects on the labor market. For example, recessions hit Black workers harder than white workers because of dynamics like occupational segregation, discrimination, and other labor market disparities rooted in systemic racism. In this post, I am going to talk about today’s release of unemployment insurance data. These data highlight the deep recession we are now in—a recession that will exacerbate existing racial inequalities by causing greater job loss and income declines in Black households than white households.

Last week, 2.2 million workers applied for unemployment benefits. This is the 11th week in a row that initial unemployment claims have been more than twice the worst week of the Great Recession.

Of the 2.2 million who applied for unemployment benefits last week, 1.6 million applied for regular state unemployment insurance (UI), and 0.6 million applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA is the new federal program for workers who are out of work because of the virus but who are not eligible for regular UI (e.g., the self-employed). At this point, only 36 states and Puerto Rico are reporting PUA claims. This means PUA claims are still being undercounted.

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Public education job losses in April are already greater than in all of the Great Recession

It has been well documented that fiscal austerity was a catastrophe for the recovery from the Great Recession. New estimates show that without sufficient aid to state and local governments, the COVID-19 shock could lead to a revenue shortfall of nearly $1 trillion by 2021 for state and local governments. In lieu of substantial federal investments, budget cuts are certain. But I, for one, did not expect to see the losses as soon as April. As of the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), state and local government employment fell by 981,000, with the vast majority of losses found in local government. And the majority of those local government losses are in the education sector, with a loss of 468,800 jobs in local public school employment alone.

State and local government austerity in the aftermath of the great recession contributed to a significant shortfall in employment in public K–12 school systems, a shortfall that continued through 2019. The figure below shows that, as of early 2020, public employment in elementary and secondary schools had yet to recover the level it had reached prior to the losses of the Great Recession. Furthermore, employment levels in the public education system have failed to keep up with growth in public school enrollment since 2008. As of September 2019, the start of the most recent pre-pandemic school year, local public education jobs were still 60,000 short of their September 2008 level, and they were over 300,000 lower than they would have needed to be to keep up with public school enrollment.

Then, the pandemic hit and local education jobs dropped sharply. More K–12 public education jobs were lost in April than in all of the Great Recession. And that’s before any austerity measures from lost state and local revenue have been put in place. A look at the Current Population Survey reveals that losses in public education were concentrated in certain occupations. While some teachers were spared, namely elementary and middle school teachers, others were not. Half of the job losses in K–12 public education between March and April were among special education teachers, tutors, and teaching assistants. Not only are these job losses devastating to those no longer getting a paycheck, but they negatively impact the education students receive. Other significant job losses occurred among counselors, nurses, janitors, and other building maintenance workers. Without sufficient staffing, we cannot safely reopen schools and get parents back to work—which will in turn hamper economic recovery.

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Six states have at least one million workers either receiving regular unemployment benefits or waiting for their claim to be approved

The Department of Labor (DOL) released the most recent unemployment insurance (UI) claims data yesterday, showing that another 1.9 million people filed for regular UI benefits last week (not seasonally adjusted) and 1.2 million for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the new program for workers who aren’t eligible for regular UI, such as gig workers.

In the last 10 weeks, more than one in five people in the workforce are either receiving or have recently applied for unemployment benefits—regular or PUA. These benefits are a critical lifeline that help workers make ends meet while slowing the spread of coronavirus as we practice social distancing. The $600 increase in weekly UI benefits was perhaps the most effective measure in the CARES Act for insulating workers from economic harm, and it should be extended past July.

For the last few weeks, we have been reporting the sum of initial claims since we first started seeing the economic effects of the pandemic. This week, we are reporting a different measure of the cumulative number of people claiming UI: the total number of workers who are either on unemployment benefits, or have applied and are still waiting to see if they will get benefits.

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More than one in five workers are either receiving unemployment benefits or waiting for approval: Congress must do much, much more

Last week, 3.1 million workers applied for unemployment benefits. This is the tenth week in a row that initial unemployment claims are more than three times the worst week of the Great Recession.

Of the 3.1 million who applied for unemployment benefits last week, 1.9 million applied for regular state unemployment insurance (UI), and 1.2 million applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA is the new federal program for workers who are out of work because of the virus but who are not eligible for regular UI (e.g. the self-employed). At this point, 15 states and the District of Columbia are not yet even reporting PUA data. This means PUA claims are still being undercounted.

Figure A

34.2 million workers are either receiving unemployment benefits or waiting for approval: Reported number of initial and continued UI and PUA claims, as of May 23, 2020

Regular state UI: Continued claims Regular state UI: Initial claims PUA: Continued claims PUA: Initial claims Total
Cumulative 19,051,706 4,096,598 7,793,066 3,289,671 0
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Notes: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is the new federal program for workers who are out of work because of the coronavirus but who are not eligible for regular state unemployment insurance (UI) benefits (e.g. the self-employed). Initial claims are still in the first round of processing. Continued claims have made it through at least the first round of processing.

Notes: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is the new federal program for workers who are out of work because of the virus but who are not eligible for regular state unemployment insurance (UI) benefits (e.g. the self-employed). Initial claims are still in the first round of processing. Continued claims have made it through at least the first round of processing. PUA initial claims are for the weeks ending May 9, May 16, and May 23; PUA continued claims are for the week ending May 9. Regular state UI initial claims are for the weeks ending May 9 and May 16; regular state UI continued claims are for the week ending May 16. Regular state UI claims are reported for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. PUA claims are currently being reported for 35 states; 15 states and the District of Columbia are not yet reporting PUA data.

Source: U.S. Employment and Training Administration, Initial Claims [ICSA], retrieved from Department of Labor (DOL), https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf and https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/claims.asp, May 28, 2020.

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Many commentators are reporting the cumulative number of initial regular state UI claims over the last 10 weeks as a measure of how many people have applied for UI in this pandemic. At this point, I believe we should abandon that approach because it ignores PUA—and is thus an understatement on that front—but may overstate things in other ways. For example it may lead to some double-counting. Instead, we can calculate the total number of workers who are either on unemployment benefits, or have applied and are still waiting to see if they will get benefits, in the following way:

A total of 19.1 million workers had made it through at least the first round of regular state UI processing as of May 16 (these are known as “continued” claims), and 4.1 million had filed initial UI claims on top of that but had not yet made it through the first round of processing as of May 23. And, 7.8 million workers had made it through at least the first round of PUA processing by May 9, and 3.3 million had filed initial PUA claims on top of that but had not yet made it through the first round of processing as of May 23. Altogether, that’s 34.2 million workers who are either on unemployment benefits or who have applied very recently and are waiting for approval—roughly two-thirds UI, and one-third PUA. Together, that is more than one in five people in the U.S. workforce.

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Criminalization of black and brown communities in the Midwest adds to public health crisis during COVID-19 pandemic

The first installment of this three-part series on the impact of the coronavirus in the Midwest describes how weak labor protections have put Midwestern food processing workers at risk for coronavirus. Here we describe how incarceration puts people in the Midwest at risk during the pandemic and what state and local policymakers can do to protect the health and safety of people and families impacted by incarceration.

During a public health crisis, we’re reminded that our communities are only really safe when everyone is safe. Across the nation—and throughout the Midwest—our communities include jails, prisons, and detention centers. And now, people who are incarcerated face an urgent problem: greater health risks from COVID-19. Overcrowding inhibits physical distancing and isolation of people who’ve contracted the virus, and inadequate medical care and supplies in these facilities prevents necessary testing, treatment, and sanitation. Decades of so-called “tough on crime” laws have overcrowded Midwestern jails and prisons and put the people who are incarcerated and the surrounding communities at risk.

State and local policymakers must do more to protect the health and safety of people impacted by incarceration and the workers coming in and out of these facilities as well. Proper medical care; prioritizing people for release from jails, prisons, and detention centers; eliminating unnecessary fees and fines; protecting people on parole and probation; and ensuring incarcerated people are able to communicate with their family and friends without creating additional economic hardship are all steps that should be prioritized during the coronavirus pandemic and further highlight reforms necessary even when we are not facing a global health emergency.

What does incarceration in the Midwest look like?

All states throughout the Midwest have seen a dramatic increase in incarceration over the last 40 years. They have incarcerated people in jails, prisons, detention centers, and juvenile justice facilities at higher rates (652 people per every 100,000 people in the state on average across the Midwest) even when compared with wealthy democracies around the world. Racial disparities are especially stark for black people, who are overrepresented in jails and prisons in every Midwestern state. For example, of the 10 states with the highest black–white differential in incarceration in state prisons, five (Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, and Nebraska) are in the Midwest and three of these (Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota) imprison black people at more than 10 times the rate of white people. Latino and indigenous people are at least two times as likely to be incarcerated in many Midwestern states, including Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. These communities are also more likely to have underlying health conditions that lead to higher rates of death after contracting the virus, a risk factor that reflects and compounds durable patterns of segregation and discrimination.

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Without federal aid, many state and local governments could make the same budget cuts that hampered the last economic recovery

If policymakers should learn one lesson from the long, sluggish recovery from the Great Recession, it is that cutting public spending, particularly by state and local governments, is a recipe for prolonged economic pain. My colleague Josh Bivens has described in detail how the state and local austerity of the early 2010s was both an unprecedented cutback in public spending following a recession and directly to blame for the slow pace of recovery.

Unfortunately, facing massive projected losses in revenue as the coronavirus has forced them to lock down their economies, many state and local governments are already cutting critical services and laying off staff. The April jobs report showed that nearly 981,000 state and local public-sector jobs have already been lost. To put that in perspective, that’s more than all the state and local public-sector jobs lost in the Great Recession and its aftermath.

As shown in Figure A, the peak for state and local government employment occurred in July 2008. As state and local budgets deteriorated throughout that year, governments began cutting services and staff. When the recession officially ended in June 2009, lawmakers in many states were already cutting jobs, choosing to slash budgets rather than pursuing new revenues. These cuts accelerated in 2010 as relief funding from the federal recovery act dried up, and they continued for several years, particularly in many states where conservative lawmakers took control following the 2010 elections. The result was a loss of nearly 800,000 state and local public-sector jobs by July 2013.

Figure A

April’s state and local government job losses were larger than the entirety of cuts in the Great Recession: State and local government employment (in thousands), December 2007–April 2020

State and local actual
2007-12-01 19620
2008-01-01 19650
2008-02-01 19670
2008-03-01 19691
2008-04-01 19695
2008-05-01 19726
2008-06-01 19758
2008-07-01 19801
2008-08-01 19801
2008-09-01 19769
2008-10-01 19777
2008-11-01 19782
2008-12-01 19781
2009-01-01 19793
2009-02-01 19781
2009-03-01 19763
2009-04-01 19755
2009-05-01 19757
2009-06-01 19762
2009-07-01 19695
2009-08-01 19712
2009-09-01 19625
2009-10-01 19681
2009-11-01 19691
2009-12-01 19651
2010-01-01 19631
2010-02-01 19604
2010-03-01 19595
2010-04-01 19585
2010-05-01 19580
2010-06-01 19547
2010-07-01 19518
2010-08-01 19475
2010-09-01 19378
2010-10-01 19431
2010-11-01 19421
2010-12-01 19396
2011-01-01 19384
2011-02-01 19339
2011-03-01 19315
2011-04-01 19314
2011-05-01 19258
2011-06-01 19304
2011-07-01 19187
2011-08-01 19167
2011-09-01 19137
2011-10-01 19148
2011-11-01 19129
2011-12-01 19118
2012-01-01 19113
2012-02-01 19119
2012-03-01 19115
2012-04-01 19105
2012-05-01 19088
2012-06-01 19106
2012-07-01 19098
2012-08-01 19096
2012-09-01 19103
2012-10-01 19079
2012-11-01 19074
2012-12-01 19081
2013-01-01 19063
2013-02-01 19075
2013-03-01 19076
2013-04-01 19075
2013-05-01 19089
2013-06-01 19069
2013-07-01 19054 
2013-08-01 19077
2013-09-01 19082
2013-10-01 19091
2013-11-01 19097
2013-12-01 19079
2014-01-01 19078
2014-02-01 19094
2014-03-01 19105
2014-04-01 19125
2014-05-01 19104
2014-06-01 19166
2014-07-01 19170
2014-08-01 19120
2014-09-01 19162
2014-10-01 19182
2014-11-01 19192
2014-12-01 19204
2015-01-01 19215
2015-02-01 19231
2015-03-01 19222
2015-04-01 19242
2015-05-01 19259
2015-06-01 19261
2015-07-01 19294
2015-08-01 19300
2015-09-01 19281
2015-10-01 19297
2015-11-01 19315
2015-12-01 19321
2016-01-01 19346
2016-02-01 19366
2016-03-01 19397
2016-04-01 19401
2016-05-01 19405
2016-06-01 19387
2016-07-01 19486
2016-08-01 19465
2016-09-01 19496
2016-10-01 19488
2016-11-01 19491
2016-12-01 19491
2017-01-01 19487
2017-02-01 19506
2017-03-01 19514
2017-04-01 19530
2017-05-01 19524
2017-06-01 19540
2017-07-01 19554
2017-08-01 19555
2017-09-01 19564
2017-10-01 19566
2017-11-01 19601
2017-12-01 19587
2018-01-01 19554
2018-02-01 19613
2018-03-01 19611
2018-04-01 19619
2018-05-01 19639
2018-06-01 19663
2018-07-01 19664
2018-08-01 19689
2018-09-01 19685
2018-10-01 19680
2018-11-01 19675
2018-12-01 19686
2019-01-01 19695
2019-02-01 19699
2019-03-01 19713
2019-04-01 19730
2019-05-01 19725
2019-06-01 19724
2019-07-01 19756
2019-08-01 19780
2019-09-01 19793
2019-10-01 19801
2019-11-01 19809
2019-12-01 19832
2020-01-01 19859
2020-02-01 19878
2020-03-01 19831
2020-04-01 18850 
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Note: Shaded area denotes recession.

Source: Current Employment Statistics data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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