Commonwealth Policy Center

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought our economy to a halt and resulted in massive job losses. More than three million Americans filed an unemployment claim. This is a surge of 1500 percent within two weeks and also the highest number of unemployment claims ever recorded in a single week. The previous single week unemployment claim record was 695,000 claims in October of 1982. Just a few weeks ago, our economy was considered very strong and healthy. But the COVID-19 pandemic reminds us just how vulnerable both we are. Fortunately, during this crisis, Congress extended unemployment benefits to four months. It also ensures that workers will get paid the same salary as they did when they were employed—welcome relief to those hit hardest.