Unemployment claims are falling. But that’s not necessarily because people found work

Claims for unemployment benefits are falling. But it’s not all because people are returning to work. Instead, many workers may be running out of jobless benefits altogether or falling through the cracks of the system, according to labor experts.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Greg Iacurci
November 13, 2020

Tags: COVID-19, Unemployment, Unemployment Insurance

Organizations mentioned/involved: National Employment Law Project (NY)


Continuing claims for unemployment benefits are the best available proxy for the total number of people receiving jobless aid. Claims have fallen by more than 10 million since the early summer.

There were around 21 million continuing claims through state and federal programs at the end of October, according to the Labor Department. That figure is elevated by historical standards, but down from nearly 33 million at the end of June.

A return to work likely accounts for a large portion of the decrease, said Susan Houseman, research director at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.