The Number of Unemployed People Taking Advantage of the Unemployment Insurance Program


Despite the fact that unemployment rates have been on the rise for the past few months, the number of people taking advantage of the PUA program has remained relatively steady. In fact, the PUA program has gained 1.7 million recipients since June 6th and has topped 3 million participants. The state with the highest rate of participation in California. New York is a close second with 1.9 million recipients.

California leads the nation with more than 3 million participants

During the month of July, California topped all other states in terms of job creation. The state added 114,400 jobs. However, its unemployment rate was still the second highest in the nation.

In terms of the number of unemployed, California’s rate is down 5.6 percentage points compared to the same period in 2020. The employment development department recently released a report on employment in July, showing that more than two-thirds of California’s workforce was employed in the state. The unemployment rate was 7.6%, down from 9.3% in June.

The state has a population of more than ten million, with a total economy of more than $18 billion. It’s home to numerous Fortune 500 companies, including Facebook, Google, and Netflix. In addition to being the country’s second-largest economy, California leads the nation in job creation and is the only state in which more than one in three workers are not counted as unemployed.

New York is next with 1.9 million

Despite a recent spate of weak payroll employment gains, the unemployment rate remains unchanged at 5.0 percent. While the job market may be tepid, the good news is that many workers have been able to find work. A whopping 651,000 people in Hawaii are employed, while the number of unemployed workers in the state stands at a measly 25,000.

The DOL a few weeks ago released its latest round of unemployment insurance claims data. In total, over 35 million claimants are in the system, a figure that will probably spike in the coming months. Among the states, Illinois tops the list with an estimated 1.2 million claims filed so far this year. New Jersey follows closely with 400,000 to 3 million claimants in the books.

PUA recipients increased by 1.7 million between June 6 and 13

During the first month of the PUA program, 1.7 million more people received benefits than in the previous month. This increased the number of PUA beneficiaries to nearly 4.2 million. As of June 13, the total number of unemployment benefit recipients nationwide was 31.5 million.

The PUA program is designed to offset the income lost when an individual loses their job. It pays an additional $600 per week to unemployed workers. The amount of each PUA payment is determined by the worker’s income. In some states, the amount of each PUC payment is greater than 100 percent of the worker’s weekly wage.

According to data provided by the DOL, 41 percent of eligible claimants were self-employed in 2020. In 2020, the average PUA payment was over $30 more than the average UI payment.

Extended state benefits may be available in states where unemployment rates are higher than pre-specified thresholds

During times of high unemployment, an additional 13 weeks of benefits may be provided to claimants under the Extended Benefits program. These weeks may be less than 20 weeks in total, and they are triggered when the state’s unemployment rate hits certain thresholds. Those eligible for Extended Benefits include able-bodied adults without dependents. They also include self-employed individuals, as well as employees of churches and non-profits. These extended benefits are not available to people receiving Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Trade Readjustment Allowances, or other types of regular benefits.

In recent years, the Department of Labor has approved waivers for states that qualify for Extended Benefits. These areas must have an average unemployment rate that is at least two percent higher than the national average for a 12-month period. The department believes this criterion needs to be bolstered to better align with the actual economic reality.

Traditional state unemployment benefits will not be available after the expiration of the PUA program

During the economic recession, unemployment insurance played a crucial fiscal stimulus role. It provided income support to workers who were no longer employed due to lost wages. In some states, benefits were paid right away. However, in other states, it took weeks to process applications and collect additional information.

The United States government implemented the largest expansion of eligibility for federal unemployment benefits in history. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program expanded UI eligibility to include COVID-19-related workers, part-time and gig workers, and self-employed individuals. The program provided benefits for up to 39 weeks for qualifying individuals.

The PUA program accounted for 40 percent of total UI claims. The program also expanded benefits to self-employed and independent contractors. Some states continue to provide these benefits through 2020.