Reducing unemployment costs after historic volumes and pandemic legislation
Since March 2020, the topic of the unemployment system has received unprecedented attention due to claim volumes, new legislation and historic levels of fraudulent claims as the COVID-19 outbreak swelled the ranks of unemployed Americans from 6.2 million in February 2020 to 20.5 million in May 2020.
In March 2020 new weekly unemployment claims went from 225,000 to over 6 million in the same month. The official U.S. unemployment rate surged from 3.8% — among the lowest on record — to over 14% in April 2020. The sudden disruption in the employment market caused a total of 60,856,885 unemployment claims to be filed in 2020 compared to 11,359,338 in 2019, an increase of 536% year-over-year.
In 2020, unemployment claims volumes were driven not only by massive business shutdowns and job eliminations, but also from ground-breaking legislation and high numbers of fraudulent claim filings. The new acts covered people who did not typically qualify for unemployment benefits, such as gig workers, independent contractors and self-employed individuals. The legislation also extended on-going benefits to a maximum total of 79 weeks through September 4, 2021 and boosted weekly payments by $600 initially and then later $300 during that extended benefit period...