American Unemployment Benefits Down to 44-Year Low

Updated : January 24th, 2018

Since 1973, the number of unemployment benefits has dropped significantly. It has been reported that as of December 2017, 1.87 million Americans receive benefits. It can also be noted that the Department of Labor received its largest number of newer filings from those that survived the destructive hurricane season. This caused massive damages to businesses in southern states and Puerto Rico. Despite this, the number of new applicants was low. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics suggested that the economy added 148,000 jobs in December and hence the unemployment rate remains at 4.1 percent. This comes at a time when companies were out to do the other better by offering raises, bonuses and increasing the minimum wage after the passage of President Donald Trump’s tax reform bill. This helped more than a 100 American companies to provide their employees with bonuses after Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Large corporations like AT&T, Nationwide and Comcast have increased their 401(k) matching rate, increased domestic investment and raised their minimum wages. Another major player that joined this list was Walmart which gave its 2.1 million employees a one-time bonus, higher wages, and other new benefits.

American Unemployment Benefits at 44 Year Low

Even after the US economy rebounded from the hurricanes, it had added 261,000 jobs and this is by far the best performance by the government. Unemployment had continued its decline to 4.1% since December 2000. But more importantly, wages have not increased as much and only grew 2.4% in October as compared to the previous year. This was also well behind its September numbers a year ago. One of the biggest mysteries in this economy is the absence of better wage growth and inflation. US has otherwise added jobs for 85 straight months and is the longest streak on record. Initially, the government suggested that there would be a loss of 33,000 jobs in September to the economy based on Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. But on the other hand, the revised figures show a gain of 18,000. Job gains for October have happened across all sectors. As soon as the storm had passed, restaurants had reopened and added more than 89,000 jobs after losing out on the same in September. Businesses services gained 50,000 positions while healthcare firms hired 22,000 employees. One of the most positive industries was manufacturing that gained 24,000 positions since October. Since the presidential election a year ago, it had gained nearly 156,000 jobs. This was attributed to the fact that they renewed the strength of the global economy and a weak US dollar that made American exports more affordable to foreigners. Manufacturing firms had heavily relied on shipping and selling overseas. Other interesting and notable figures in the report stated that 700,000 Americans left the labor market in October. Though the Labor Department could not provide a reason, the only conclusive answer was that Baby Boomers were retiring. The unemployment rate dropped due to a shrinking labor force and not become of more hiring. Industries that registered minor job losses like mining lost 2000 workers and retail stores lost 8000 jobs. Apart from this, the overall picture looked favorable and this meant that at this point the financial crisis has not been easy on workers.

Unemployment Claims Lowest

Unemployment Claims Lowest

You should know that US unemployment claims have fallen to 222,000. This is the lowest its been in 44 Years. This is because US unemployment claims fall by 22,000 to 222,000 and this has been recorded the lowest since March 1973. In terms of relating to these numbers, Americans collecting unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since President Nixon was held office. Also, the less volatile four=week average slid by 9,500 to 248,250 which is lowest since late August. This means that the overall number of Americans that collected unemployment checks dropped to just 1.89 million. This is the lowest it has been since 1973 and down nearly 9 percent from a year ago.

Unemployment claims are usually associated with layoffs. The low levels help you notice that employers are confident about their economy and positive about hanging onto their workers. Employers cut 33,000 jobs in September and this was the first monthly drop in seven years pushed the 16 years low to 4.2 percent. This was mainly caused due to the hurricanes – Harvey and Irma that caused chaos and destruction to Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

A few days ago, President Trump mentioned that a year after his inauguration, women unemployment was the lowest in 18 years. Figures state that the joblessness among women was 3.7 percent in December and was well below the overall US unemployment rate of 4.1 percent. This a reason for employers to look into more employment opportunities for women and ensure that their workforce has a sense of job security and fulfillment.

You can see that unemployment was at 4.8% in January of 2017 and declined to 4.1% at the end of the year.In December, the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent for the third consecutive month. On average the unemployed persons were at 6.6 million and mostly unchanged over the month. Over the period of 2017, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down to 0.6 percentage points and in terms of figures, 926,000. The rates for unemployment were for adult men (3.8 percent), adult women (3.7 percent), Whites (3.7 percent), Blacks (6.8 percent), Asians (2.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.9 percent) showed little or no change. The labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, was unchanged over the month and over the year. Also, the employment to population ratio remained unchanged at 60.1 percent in December but was up 0.3 percent over the last year.

If you are unemployed and looking to claim benefits, then you should use the Benefits Calculator to figure out the benefits that you are eligible for. Using the Benefits Calculator, you should fill in wages earned for four months and select the state that you reside in. Do read about qualifying wages, the duration of receiving benefits and the amount of weekly benefit located in the section below the calculator for further clarity. Share your thoughts and views on unemployment in America and if you have further clarification, you can give us further details.

  1. Are you able to receive unemployment in the state of Ga if you receive lump sum severance (which was the same pay as a 2 week regular paycheck)

    1. Sid,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

    1. Jose,

      We’re not a scam or a fraud website:) has been around for more than 10 years and we’re one of the leading forums for unemployment insurance and unemployment in general. Our daily visitor and patron base is of considerable size and we truly believe in being a center for jobless workers to access resources and share their queries.

      1. I’m confused the article is about extending unemployment benefits in Texas but there hasn’t been any approved Emergency extensions since 2013. Can you clarify this.

        1. Glo,

          The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  2. I’m attemptiing to file my first weekly claim since my layoff, however, my PIN# is not correct. what do I do to get my correct PIN# , please?

  3. I have exhausted my unemployment benefits in Texas but my calendar year does not end until September. Do I have to wait until the calendar year is over in Texas, to apply for unemployment benefits in New York in which I have available quarters?

    1. Mattie,

      As much as I am aware, UI benefits are only a one-time cycle. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  4. Help ran out of unemployment benefits for the pass 8 years i have worked at Hexion speciality chemical plant in Brady Texas how can i get my benefits extended

    1. Roderick,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

    1. Annette,

      You can visit the official website of the Unemployment Office and ‘login’ to check the claim status. Alternatively, you can also call the Claims Center.

      PS: It should not take 6 weeks to process the initial claim. Please chase at regular intervals.

    1. Jocelyn,

      Unemployment is offered to claimants who’re able and available for work. Please call the Unemployment Office to ascertain if you can apply.

  5. I have been working for the same company for the past 11 years. I started out cleaning apartments, then landscaping and finally Asst. Manager for the past seven years. However, the owner/ manager had us all sign papers claiming we were “Independent Contractors.” I worked Monday thru Friday from 8am – 5pm the entire 11 years. Obviously, in reality, we had Never been “Independent Contractors.”
    Finally, October 2018 we became employee’s. On May 10, 2019 he sold the business which puts us all out of work. I tried filing for unemployment, but, I don’t have enough quarters in. Assuming I’m still out of work, can I wait for the next quarter to end, thus giving me the 2 quarters I need or will it not make a difference.

    1. Lea,

      Why don’t you look at alternate based period? Please use the link below to access the Base Period calculator.

  6. I have been working as an hourly employee for the last 4 months. Currently the board of the nonprofit agency came to me and told me that I had to file a 1099 or go to part time or find a new job. I have a scheduled time that I report to work. What are the laws here in Florida about who can receive a 1099

  7. I am unemployed and currently going to a community college. How can I apply for federal assistance?

    1. Carol,

      If you’re able and available for full-time employment, you can directly go to the website of the Unemployment Office and apply.

  8. I have worked in AZ since March 2016. However, I moved lived and worked for my employer in CA since 08/02/1982. Can I apply for Cali unemployment benefits?

    1. Robert,

      You should be applying from the state where your employment was based. Employers generally remit unemployment taxes to the state where the employee is based.

      1. How long does it take Washington state unemployment to deposit your back pay after they receive the determination letter from OAH stating I won my appeal?

  9. I have been trying for over a month to file and I still do not seem to be able to do it, but I finally got to the correct place, I think.

  10. Cumberland NJ Unemployment Center kept me on hold for 2 hours; I finally had someone answer my call, after providing my information and question regarding the status of my NJ Unemployment Claim the representative disconnected my call.

  11. Excellent list of things to help execute better. Even taking 3 or 4 of these that one does not currently utilize could help immensely.

    1. How did you calculate the total weekly Illinois benefit of $1495? Also, why isn’t Washington and Minnesota listed in your top 5 states with the highest paid unemployment insurance compensation?

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