Nov 13, 2020 - Economy & Business

Regular state unemployment programs are expiring for many Americans

Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

A staggering number of Americans continue to fall into a troubling labor market category: out of work for so long that regular unemployment programs have expired. And, that number is rising.

What it means: People are falling off the state unemployment rolls and likely getting work. But that’s being offset by people who are falling off because they are simply no longer eligible to collect state unemployment.

  • They’re transitioning to the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which provides 13 extra weeks of support.

What they’re saying: “The decline in continuing claims exaggerates the improvement in total employment," Conrad DeQuadros, an economist at Brean Economics, wrote in a note.

By the numbers: Roughly 160,000 more people moved onto PEUC in the week ending Oct. 24, bringing the total number of claimants to 4.1 million, according to the Department of Labor.

  • PEUC expires on Dec. 26, which will rip financial support out from right underneath millions of people (unless it’s extended by Congress, which appears unlikely).
  • The same is true for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the program for gig and freelance workers, where 9.4 million people are said to be collecting benefits.

What to watch: Over half a million people are tapping Extended Benefits, an option for eligible unemployed workers in most states that have exhausted regular state and PEUC benefits — 21,000 fewer people than last week.

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