Apr 29, 2020 - Economy & Business

14 million Americans may be missing out on unemployment benefits

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Data: Economic Policy Institute; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of new unemployment claims filed by Americans over the past five weeks has been record-shattering, and the shock has overwhelmed states' ability to process claims, likely leaving millions more newly jobless people without benefits.

What's happening: A new study from left-leaning think tank EPI finds that there are likely as many as 14 million people who have lost their jobs since March 15 but have been unable to apply for unemployment benefits.

Why it matters: "These findings imply the official count of unemployment insurance claims likely drastically understates the extent of employment reductions and the need for economic relief during the coronavirus crisis," EPI economist Ben Zipperer and senior economist Elise Gould write.

What they're saying: While the $2.2 trillion CARES Act increased workers’ unemployment eligibility and benefits during the coronavirus pandemic, "widespread reports indicate that long-neglected state UI systems are unable to handle the volume of applications, preventing laid-off or furloughed workers from receiving necessary unemployment benefits."

Details: EPI's study used a survey of 25,000 people and extrapolated results based on the number of people who have successfully filed unemployment insurance claims over the past five weeks. The results showed that for every 10 people who successfully filed:

  • Three to four additional people tried to apply but could not get through the system to make a claim.
  • Two additional people did not try to apply because it was too difficult to do so.
  • Therefore they estimate an additional 8.9 million to 13.9 million people could have filed for benefits had the process been easier.

Where it stands: The results track with analyst Lou Brien's calculation of jobless claims and unemployment that projects somewhere between 32 million and 70 million people are currently unemployed.

Go deeper: The coronavirus jobs apocalypse is here

Go deeper

Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,923,432— Total deaths: 364,836 — Total recoveries — 2,493,434Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,745,930 — Total deaths: 102,808 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  6. 1 sports thing: NCAA outlines plan to get athletes back to campus.

In photos: Protests intensify across the U.S. over George Floyd's death

Protesters outside the Capitol in Washington, DC, on May 29. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Mass protests in Atlanta, New York City and Washington, D.C., sparked clashes with police on Friday, as demonstrators demanded justice for the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after at least one police officer knelt on his neck on Monday.

The big picture: The officer involved in the killing of Floyd was charged with third-degree murder on Friday, after protests continued in Minneapolis for three days.

Zuckerberg says Trump’s “shooting” tweet didn’t violate Facebook’s rules

Mark Zuckerberg at the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany on February 15. Photo: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Facebook did not remove President Trump's threat to send the National Guard to Minneapolis because the company's policy on inciting violence allows discussion on state use of force, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained in a post on Friday.

The big picture: Zuckerberg's statement comes on the heels of leaked internal criticism from Facebook employees over how the company handled Trump's posts about the Minneapolis protests and his unsubstantiated claims on mail-in ballots — both of which Twitter has now taken action on.