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Pandemic-related initial claims for unemployment assistance

FRED now offers data on pandemic-related initial claims for unemployment assistance. An initial claim is filed by an employee with the state employment agency after losing her/his job. A pandemic-related initial claim is filed by an employee covered under the expanded eligibility criteria specific to the pandemic.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program is funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which temporarily expanded unemployment insurance eligibility to workers not usually eligible for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits: e.g., self-employed workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers impacted by the pandemic.

The number of these claims varies dramatically from week to week and from state to state. Here, the data show percent changes from November 14, 2020, to November 21, 2020. The dark red indicates a state where the number of these initial claims increased in that week, and the light red indicates a state where the number remained constant or decreased.

For these dates, the PAU-related initial claims grew by 646% in Maine, remained unchanged in Mississippi, and fell to zero in Minnesota.

How this map was created: From GeoFRED, click on “Build new map” (green button, northeast corner of the screen) and then click on “Tools” (orange cogwheel button, northwest corner). Under “Region” select “State,” under “Data” select “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Initial Claims,” under “Units” select “Percent Change,” and under “Date” select 2020-11-21. Next, click on “Edit Legend” and under “Number of color cases” select 2. Last, enter “0” on the topmost box and choose colors to taste.

Suggested by Diego Mendez-Carbajo and Maria Arias.

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