On Thursday, the government said there were nearly 31.3 million unemployed Americans drawing UI benefits. That’s almost 20% of the work force, and included 16.7 million under regular state UI programs, 14.1 million under the emergency pandemic programs and 0.5 million under certain veterans, Federal and other programs.
Compared to bubble-vision’s ballyhoo about a steadily recovering labor market, the chart below, which includes all 10 categories of state and Federal UI benefits, amounts to a bucket of cold water. For instance, if you go back to the week of May 2, the total UI beneficiaries figure was 27.3 million including 20.8 million under regular state programs, 6.3 million under the Federal emergency programs (PUA and PEUC) and 0.2 million under the others.
But what happened thereafter doesn’t fit the April was the bottom narrative at all. Yes, the blue area (regular state programs) has declined somewhat since early May, but those gains have been more than off-set by surging enrollment in the Federal emergency programs.