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Week 9 of the Collapse of the U.S. Labor Market: Still Getting Worse at a Gut-Wrenching Pace

Week 9 of the Collapse of the U.S. Labor Market: Still Getting Worse at a Gut-Wrenching Pace

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for gig workers doubles initial claims under state programs. Here are the “Insured Unemployment Rates” for each of the 50 states & DC.

The moment the unemployment crisis stops getting worse and bottoms out would signal the beginning of a recovery of the job market. But instead, it’s still getting worse at a gut-wrenching pace.

In the week ended May 16, state unemployment offices processed 2.438 million “initial claims” for unemployment insurance under state programs, bringing the total number of initial claims over the past nine reporting weeks since mid-March to a mind-bending 38.6 million (seasonally adjusted). The claims reported by the US Department of Labor this morning were over three times the magnitude of the prior weekly records during the unemployment crises in 1982 and 2009.

But it’s even worse: 4.4 million initial claims with PUA.

These “initial claims” exclude the gig workers, self-employed, and contract workers who are now eligible to receive unemployment insurance under the special and temporary federal program in the stimulus package, called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

In the week ended May 16, an additional 2.23 million people (not seasonally adjusted) filed initial claims under the PUA program, up from the 850,000 that had filed the week ended May 9, and the 1 million that had filed in the week ended May 2. So in total, when regular initial claims (not seasonally adjusted) and PUA initial claims are combined for the week ended May 16, the total of initial claims (not seasonally adjusted) more than doubles to 4.4 million.

The number of “Insured Unemployed” spikes after last week’s calm.

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