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To what extent have claims for unemployment benefits increased in the US and which states are suffering the most?

Claims for unemployment benefits have gone up over the past week. Find out which states had the biggest increases in the number of applications.

Las solicitudes de beneficios por desempleo han aumentado durante la última semana. Te compartimos los estados más afectados.
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The United States Department of Labor, in coordination with state governments, provides unemployment insurance programs. These give benefits to people who have been left without work for reasons beyond their control.

This agency is responsible for sharing weekly data on applications for unemployment benefits, which have increased considerably. The Labor Department announced that in the week ending June 1, the anticipated number of seasonally adjusted initial claims was 229,000, an increase of 8,000 from the revised level from the previous week.

According to the report, the anticipated seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2 percent for the week ending May 25, unchanged from the unrevised rate of the last week. Meanwhile, the anticipated seasonally adjusted insured unemployment figure for the week ending May 25 was 1,792,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level.

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The states most affected by unemployment

The report shared by the Department of Labor also reports that the highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending May 18 were recorded in New Jersey (2.3), California (2.1), Washington (1.8), Massachusetts (1.6), Rhode Island (1.6), Illinois (1.5), Nevada (1.5), New York (1.5), Alaska (1, 4) and Pennsylvania (1.4).

On the other hand, the largest increases in initial jobless claims for the week ending May 25 occurred in Tennessee (+1,880), Michigan (+1,557), Missouri (+839), Minnesota (+756) and Illinois (+750).

Who is eligible to apply for unemployment benefits?

The unemployment insurance program follows certain guidelines established by federal law. However, each state administers its own separate program with certain eligibility requirements.

In most states, workers are eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits. However, some states provide extended benefits that can last 13 more weeks when the unemployment rate is very high.

Generally speaking, a person qualifies for unemployment benefits if they meet the following requirements:

  • The worker is unemployed for reasons beyond their control.
  • Complies with labor and salary requirements. 
  • The worker must meet his or her state's requirements for wages earned or time worked during a set period of time called the “base period”. (In most states, this is usually the first four of the last five full quarters before the date their claim is filed.)
  • Meets any additional state requirements, such as demonstrating continued pursuit of employment or training.

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To apply for unemployment benefits, the worker must file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where they worked.

Depending on the state, claims can be filed in person, by phone, or online.

To learn more about the exact requirements and how to claim unemployment benefits, we recommend that you consult with the agency in charge in your state.