What word could be used to describe 44 million people filing for unemployment in just 9 weeks?

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I don’t have any word that can describe this disaster:

New unemployment claims for week ending 5/16/20 are just under 2.5 million, seasonally adjusted. An additional 2.2 million people who wouldn’t usually be qualified for unemployment filed during the week for Panemic Unemployment Assistance. The new PUA tally is shocking.

The tally of seasonally adjusted new claims is 38.6 million since the economy was put in an induced coma.


Weekly press release from the Department of labor: Unemployment insurance weekly claims

3/21/20– Wall Street Journal – Workers file 2.4 Million Unemployment Claims

Summary of new claims and running total

Here is my running tally of the new unemployment claims.

Table shows weekly claims in millions and as a percentage of February civilian labor force. Data for PUA is listed starting 5/2/20.


unemployed % of Feb PUA % of Feb
2/1/20           0.20
2/8/20           0.20
2/15/20           0.22
2/22/20           0.22
2/29/20           0.22
3/7/20           0.21
3/14/20           0.28
——  —-
3/21/20           3.31 2.0%
3/28/20           6.87 4.2%
4/4/20           6.62 4.0%
4/11/20           5.24 3.2%
4/18/20           4.44 2.7%
4/25/20           3.84 2.3%
earlier    1.60 1.0%
5/2/20           3.17 1.9%    0.96 0.6%
5/9/20           2.69 1.6%    0.84 0.5%
5/16/20           2.44 1.5%    2.23 1.4%
 —-  —-  —-  —-
shutdown subtotal        38.60 23.5%    5.63 3.4%
PUA          5.63 3.4%
 —-  —-
shutdown total        44.23 26.9%
unemployed in Feb.          5.70 3.5%
 —-  —-
estimated unemployed        49.93 30.3%
2/20 civilian labor force      164.54


Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

The California Employment Development Division describes PUA as:

As part of the federal CARES Act, the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program helps unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible for regular state UI benefits who are out of business or services are significantly reduced as a direct result of the pandemic. The provisions of the program include:

That means people who previously were not eligible for unemployment, such as self-employed people or independent contractors, can now file. Individuals in that category, who are in also now out of work, are not included in the seasonally adjusted

Grand total

If my methodology is on track that puts the total number of people unemployed, including independent contractors and self-employed people at around 50 million. This is an amount equal to about 30% of the civilian labor force back in February.

That is horrifying.

I’ll guess that number is going to increase by staggering amounts for several more weeks. That is completely unnecessary. Time to open up the economy governors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *