May 22, 2020 - Economy & Business

Over 25 million Americans are collecting unemployment

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Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

Before the coronavirus hit, 1.7 million jobless workers were collecting unemployment benefits, but two months later, the coronavirus pandemic has left more than 25 million workers on the unemployment rolls.

Why it matters: The number of new claims applications continues to be devastatingly high, though the pace has steadily slowed from the peak. Continued claims, which show the number of Americans on unemployment rolls after the initial application, keep climbing to new weekly records.

  • Even as states reopen their economies or businesses bring workers back, the tide of Americans continuing to receive benefits is stronger than those who may be falling off the rolls of unemployment and going back to work.

What they're saying: "We don't know how many people have fallen off unemployment because they got rehired," Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, tells Axios.

  • But continued claims show that "on net we're still seeing a deterioration" in the labor market, Shierholz says.
  • "When continued jobless claims peaks and start to fall, it's an important turning point for the economy," says Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. Economics at Bank of America.

Go deeper: The coronavirus unemployment numbers in perspective

Go deeper

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U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

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Coronavirus diagnostic test pricing is relatively tame

A medical professional administers a coronavirus test at a drive-thru testing site run by George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Anecdotes of labs charging thousands of dollars for coronavirus diagnostic tests are the exception rather than the rule, according to data provided to Axios by a national health insurer.

Yes, but: Some labs that don’t contract with the insurer charged rates that are multiple times higher than what Medicare pays for the diagnostic tests, and in some scenarios, patients may be at risk of receiving surprise bills.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 6,672,287 — Total deaths: 391,848 — Total recoveries — 2,895,167Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 1,875,402 — Total deaths: 108,278 — Total recoveries: 485,002 — Total tested: 18,680,529Map.
  3. Public health: Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. States: Cities are retooling public transit to lure riders back.
  5. Jobs: Unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in May — Explaining a surprise jobs report.
  6. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.