Initial UI Claims Skyrocket to Record Levels (Week of 3/15-3/21 Edition)

New data out this morning showed a record-breaking and truly staggering number of initial unemployment insurance (UI) claims last week. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a DC-based think tank, is my go-to for labor market analysis. (Disclosure: I worked for EPI from 2010-13.) Recommended reading, via EPI:

Key takeaway: “Initial UI claims jumped from 211,000 three weeks ago to 282,000 two weeks ago to 3.3 million last week. That is nearly a 1,500% increase in two weeks.”

Today’s Department of Labor report spanned initial UI claims for the week ending Saturday, March 21. But many of the state-level social distancing orders—and related curtailment of economy activity—were mandated after last Saturday (or have yet to be ordered), which doesn’t bode well for subsequent initial UI claims reports (released every Thursday). Related reading on the timeline of stay-at-home orders:

 

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