Labor Department counts 20 million Americans on unemployment

(CN) — With 11% of the Americans eligible for unemployment insurance benefits receiving them, the U.S. Department of Labor reported a new record of insured unemployment on Thursday.

By the agency’s count, at least 20 million people, or about 6% of the total U.S. population, is out of work.

“The Covid-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims and insured unemployment,” the report explains. “This marks the highest level of the seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.”

Initial claims for unemployment benefits appear to be leveling off with 4.4 million claims filed last week, down from 5.2 million claims the previous week. This decrease comes as many state unemployment agencies catch up on a backlog of claims, and money trickles into pocketbooks from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, short for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security.

The Department of Labor used covered employment of 145,671,710 in its calculation, defining that term as American who are “unemployed through no fault of their own,” while also meeting certain work and wage requirements.

With 17.4% of residents on benefits, Michigan has the highest rate of insured unemployment in the country, followed by Rhode Island with 15% and Nevada with 13.7%.

Colorado saw the largest increase in claims, with 58,246 news applications filed, followed by New York and Missouri.