New unemployment claims since start of shutdown is about 1 out of 3 people who had a job in February.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I’ve run out of adjectives to describe the economic mess created by the shutdown.

New unemployment claims for week ending 6/13/20 were 1.508 million, seasonally adjusted, down from revised 1.566 million the previous week.

My tally of data:

  • 45.69 M – seasonally adjusted new claims since the economy was shut down – that is up 4.96 million in three weeks
  •   9.28 M  – new claims for unemployment by people who otherwise aren’t eligible for unemployment – self-employed and independent contractors
  • 54.97 M – total of seasonally adjusted plus independent contractors and self-employed people

Number of new claims for unemployment as percent of February civilian labor force:

  • 27.8% – seasonally adjusted new claims
  •   5.6% – new claims under PUA by people who previously were ineligible for unemployment
  • 33.4% – new claims for unemployment as percent of February civilian labor force.

That means about one out of three people who were in the civilian labor force in February filed for unemployment.

I’ll repeat my previous question:  Anyone have any idea for what word could be used to describe our current situation where the number of people who filed for unemployment is roughly equivalent to one third of the civilian labor force in February?


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

6/18/20– Wall Street Journal – U.S. Unemployment Claims Edge Lower but Remain Historically High

Summary of new claims and running total

Below 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.

I missed the new PUA claims for 5/30.  The 6/13/20 PUA claims number includes a catch-up. The reported information for PUA is no longer new claims for the week but cumulative claims.  Thus the 5/30 data is included on the 6/13 line.


The impact of new claims is mitigated by the number of people receiving unemployment.  For the week ending 6/13/20 there are 20.5 million people drawing unemployment. That tally has been relatively flat in the last few weeks, which suggests that a lot of people are getting called back to work.


Several subtotals are presented.

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           2.45 1.5%    2.23 1.4%
5/23/20           2.12 1.3%    1.19 0.7%
5/30/20           1.88 1.1%  ???
6/6/20           1.57 1.0%    0.75 0.5%
6/13/20           1.51 0.9%    1.71 1.0%
 —-  —-  —-  —-
shutdown subtotal          45.69 27.8%    9.28 5.6%
PUA           9.28 5.6%
 —-  —-
shutdown total          54.97 33.4%
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:

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