American Unemployment Benefits Down to 44-Year Low

Author : Steven De Nazareth

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.

Related Tags : , , ,

Did you find this article helpful?   YES | NO   image

  1. I applied for unemployment on 8-1 and was approved. I received my letter of eligibility and debit card about a week ago. I did not file my intitial bi weekly claim because I missed the deadline by 1 day (didn’t realize they would be closed on Saturday). When I logged on it said I would have to reopen a claim because mine had been closed. I filled out the online form to deactivate the claim. My question is this: will I have another waiting week? And will unemployment have to contact my employer all over again to verify my wages and go through the entire process all over again or will they just reopen the claim with a new date window to file?

  2. Lost my job in 10/2018 due to plant closure, collected vacation and severance pay. Opened a claim in 1/2019. Got an on the job training job through career link in 5/2019 worked one week and became very sick and was off for two weeks VA could not find anything wrong but gave me medication for the symptoms and an excuse to return to work, prior to returning got a call from my recruiter at career link telling me the position was filled so i did not return. Reopened my claim, a few weeks later got a letter informing me the employer had appealed and said i did not return, had a hearing and the employer did not show but i lost and got a 2500.00 over payment. Got a temp job through an agency but have only worked 4 days in two weeks. Reopened my claim and was told i need to earn 2604.00 from current employer before it can be opened, did i do something wrong? Still applying for work but am days away from losing everything, need income to pay bills. PLEASE HELP

    1. Rodney,

      Your eligibility to claim UI benefits depends on multiple factors including monetary eligibility. If you’ve been officially told about the shortage of earnings, there’s nothing much one can do. If you’re still confident of winning the appeal, please make a strong case.

      1. I live in KY but my base wages were from earnings in GA when I lived there. I’ve exhausted my benefits in KY. Am I able to now file through GA since my earnings through 10/18 came from there?

        1. Dee,

          As much as I am aware, Unemployment Insurance is a one time cycle. Please call the Unemployment Office in GA for more.

  3. The hours at work have been cut due to lack of business for every department.
    So all full-time positions are now part-time.
    How do I file for partial unemployment?
    The only options I see (in Texas) are for full unemployment.

    1. Eric,

      You should be able to claim partial UI benefits. Please consider applying online until full hours are restored.

    1. William,

      If everything goes well, it should not take more than 7-10 business days (waiting week). Please call the Claims Center for more.

  4. I was employed by a VA company for 5 years, my contract ended yesterday (07/31/19), however, I worked remotely for those 5 years and live in FL, which state do I apply to for my unemployment benefits?

    1. Oscar,

      Please check with your employer if they remitted UI taxes into the system. Contract workers are generally not eligible.

        1. Oscar,

          In that case, please go ahead and apply if your employer remitted UI taxes into the system.

    2. You apply in Virginia…however, I worked seasonally and they used a ‘quarter’ that was empty, so even though my employer paid in, I only got a 1/3 of what I should have received. Figured that out later :/ They will also question WHY you aren’t able and available to work IN Virginia. They froze my account for about a month.

  5. I worked 37 years with the same company in Texas. On July 2nd of 2018, I was let go due to workforce reduction. I signed up for benefits several months later and now have drawn my 26 weeks of benefit. Is there any program currently open in Texas or federally that will extend additional money while job seeking?

    1. Lonnie,

      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.

  6. I have been an employee of my company for 34 yrs. My position is being eliminated but I have been offered another position for less money. It is a much more physical job that I am not sure I can perform well. I am 75. If I try to fulfill the position and cannot do it, will I still be able to get benefits if I quit? They want me to try it for a couple of weeks to see if I am strong enough and if I can afford the cut in pay.

    1. Lynda,

      I suggest you call the Unemployment Office to find out about eligibility before making a decision on continuation.

      1. I recently lost my job..i was late for work and they took me off the schedule..never told me i was fired..didnt ask for uniforms back. Another cook was andd has been late for work and he didnt get taken off the schedule.can i still get unemployment?

        1. Kandie,

          Please note UI benefits are only offered to claimants who lose employment due to no fault of their own. You can call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  7. Are there any training benefits or programs that will pay for an advanced degree, such as a PhD which is needed to become more employable?

    1. There are multiple training programs administered by the Labor Department in each state. For more info, please call visit the official website of the Unemployment Office.

  8. I’m about to exhaust my Unemployment benefits. I was laid off from my first job and
    found employment then I lost my job and became unemployed again. I applied for benefits and have have almost exhausted my benefits but have not found employment. Can I file for an extension?

    1. Deanna,

      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.

  9. After reading your article it’s still not clear to me about requirements surrounding moving to another state and completing/continuing to collect. I have 8 weeks eligibility left, I am moving from MA to FL. The end of your article says: “Since it’s all virtual (online), you may still consider the option of continuing your claims from the base state even if you move to a different one until completion. As a responsible claimant, it’s your duty to inform the base state about your movement to ensure there are no hassles in the near future.”

    So it sounds like even once I am in new state I am eligible to continue to collect from my base state. I can just continue to do my required weekly job search and reporting to and filing in my base state (I do it via phone call-in). No need to complicate things by doing some crazy state transfer of benefits. Benefits also done via direct bank deposit and no need to change anything. Do I even need to tell my base state I am now living in a new state? Why? Thank you.

    1. Paul,

      For the ease of understanding, each state has its specific rules and laws with regard to administering Unemployment Benefits. It might be an obligation for a claimant to inform about the movement. For clarification, please call the Unemployment Office and speak to a representative.

  10. I was recently fired from my work 25-June-2019/due to me not meeting their “standards/ expectations” i submitted my UE claim on 28-June and have not received any pay as of today, 19-July. The status is currently “adjudication in progress,” my question is, should i be worried this will be denied? I read the FAQ on the UE webpage and it said only a couple applications require the adjudication process. How long does this process usually take to get the final answer of whether I’m denied or approved? The website stated it susuallt takes ~25 days for the adjudication process, does this mean once that’s done then i still have to wait another 2-6 weeks for final processing after? THANK YOU SOO MUCH to whomever is able to provide me with some answers/ input.

    ** this is my first time ever being fired or having to file for unemployment so i really have nooooo idea what is standard or normal or whatever. I feel like an idiot with my simple questions but it would bring me so much relief having them answered, truly

    1. Talia,

      I can understand your reason for the anxiety. Adjudication is a fact-finding process where both the claimant and the employer will get an opportunity to present their case. During this process, make sure to produce supporting documents that amplify your stance. For all you know, the adjudication can be a lengthy process.

      Best Wishes!

  11. I was permanently severanced from my job due to a Co. Reorg & received my last severance pay last week. I called UE & was told that I should now do my application online since I will no longer be getting funds & still without a job & that this coming Sunday regardless of knowing if I will or will not get benefits yet that I should still file a weekly claim in case of UE back pay.
    So my question is, do I still have to report 4 jobs applied to within this week, even if I do not know if I will be approved/denied for benefits until possibly next week anyway?

    1. Lynda,

      You should continue to report the job applications as long as you’ve been asked to do so. There will be a “Waiting Period” and the first payment will take about 7-10 days after which they’ll flow much quicker. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  12. I tried to transfer from one state to another. When I left Montana I was told there would be no problem transferring. When I arrived in North Carolina I had trouble reaching the area manager by phone. When he finally called me back he said to meet him for lunch to discuss when and where I would be working. He did not show up for lunch. Then he never returned any of my calls. I went PA to visit a friend a few weeks later and tried there. I met with the hiring manager and was told there should not be a problem doing the transfer since I was still in the system. I called the store a few times and they said it was still pending. Then I was terminated without even a phone call. Am I eligible for unemployment and if so do I file in Montana or North Carolina. I still have a Montana drivers license but I am living in NC.

    1. Stacey,

      As long as you were unemployed involuntarily, you should be able to claim UI benefits. Please consider applying.

  13. I have worked for 32+ years and recently have become unable to work due to health reasons, so I have had to resign from my job. I have contacted SS and will be able to apply for disability but it will take awhile to process. Can I apply for unemployment benefits? I live in WV.

    1. Sandra,

      UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose their employment due to involuntary reasons. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for more.

  14. I had to quit my job at Walmart in Fairmont West Virginia and moved back to my home state ky, I’ve got a son with drug problems and 3 older sisters that are not doing so well in health cause of their age. I didn’t understand about the transfer part they had at Walmart that I could put a date when I could start back because of my car problems I thought when I left I had to go in like in s few days, I’ve applied here at Walmart in Winchester ky 40391 two times already plus dollar store, speedway, truck stop, bp, a few other places it’s been going on 7 months without a job I live with my son and its getting harder on him paying rent and utilities and food, not to mention our personal hygiene stuff I really need help I have no income coming in to help him and his wife out I get foodstamps and Medicaid I was praying I could qualify for unemployment PLEASE HELP!!!

    1. Vicky,

      I can understand your situation. Unfortunately, UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose employment due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office for further clarification.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer a simple Math question: *