Unemployment insurance claims in New England across the COVID-19 pandemic: Updates through June 2021
In 2020, we released a brief examining unemployment insurance (UI) claims rates across New England amid the COVID-19 pandemic and related recession. We analyzed the monthly UI claimant rates using information about the demographics of continuing unemployment claimants. As the pandemic evolves and persists, we have taken a close look at what has happened since the summer of 2020 and introduce a new tool for tracking UI claims through economic recovery. Our findings suggest that despite recovery across many industries, UI claims rates remain higher than rates seen before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. However, widespread gender disparities previously observed have largely abated, with women now only slightly more often claiming UI than men. Nevertheless, disparities across ethnicity persist, with Hispanics/Latinos still much more likely than non-Hispanics/Latinos to be claiming UI. These findings point to the uneven economic recovery and show that though UI claims have started to return to lower levels, as of June 2021, we had not reached prepandemic levels. As the pandemic evolves, it remains to be seen if unemployment claims will evolve.