Co-Author: Thatcher Thornberry
Unemployment Claims are requests for cash benefits after getting laid off from a job. When a person makes an unemployment claim, they are seeking temporary benefits from their state government to support them during their time out of work. This metric can be very useful in times of economic crisis because it signifies the magnitude that companies are experiencing financial difficulties.
In the GIF below, you can see that in the middle of March, Texas unemployment claims skyrocketed to over 25,000.
This makes sense in the context of the policy response to COVID because this was around the time that restaurants were forced to cease in-house operations and only perform deliveries. Near the end of March, many other industries experience unemployment claims of over 10,000 in a single week. In the context of policy, this mass increase in unemployment claims can be attributed to more policies requiring certain businesses to cease operations including factories, construction sites, and retail stores among other services. In June, although unemployment claims are generally high, they are much lower compared to March and April. This can be attributed to the slow reopening of the economy alongside new, more thoughtful, policies that have enforced distancing measures rather shutting businesses down completely.
For those who are interested in tracking unemployment claims and other economic metrics related to COVID-19, visit the Salem Center’s COVID site.