NewsPublic Affairs / April 17, 2020

Why March's Unemployment Rate Didn't Capture COVID-19

Why March's Unemployment Rate Didn't Capture COVID-19Monthly numbers released Friday show Indiana's March unemployment rate went up only a tenth of a percent. That doesn't reflect the almost half million Hoosiers who applied for unemployment assistance in the last month. unemployment rate, COVID-19, coronavirus2020-04-17T00:00:00-04:00
Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Why March's Unemployment Rate Didn't Capture COVID-19

A slide from a Department of Workforce Development Powerpoint shows how unemployment insurance claims skyrocketed the week after data was collected to calculate the unemployment rate.

Courtesy DWD

Monthly numbers released Friday show Indiana’s March unemployment rate went up only a tenth of a percent. That doesn’t reflect the almost half million Hoosiers who applied for unemployment assistance in the last month. 

Just last week, more than 118,000 Hoosiers filed applications for unemployment benefits. That’s the second week those claim numbers have decreased since late March, but still dramatically higher than the 2,000 to 3,000 claims filed per week in all of February. The reason it doesn’t show up in March’s relatively low 3.2 percent unemployment rate has to do with how the information is collected.

Rachel Blakeman is the director of the Community Research Institute at Purdue University Fort Wayne. She says since the unemployment survey was conducted on March 12, it doesn’t capture the effects of the governor’s “Stay-At-Home” order a week later. 

“We were starting to hear about COVID-19, but the hammer had not fallen on closing restaurants [or] on sheltering in place," she says. “What’s interesting is that it shows us how quickly things changed.”

However, Blakeman anticipates that April’s unemployment rate will reflect the drastic increases in layoffs and closures due to COVID-19.

At WFYI, our goal is to cover stories that matter to you. Our reporting is rooted in facts. It considers all perspectives and is available to everyone. We don't have paywalls, but we do need support. So if unbiased, trusted journalism is important to you, please join us. Donate now.

 

 

Related News

Indianapolis To House Homeless At High Risk For COVID-19
Indiana Governor Seeks Spending Cuts With Tax Revenue Drop
Indiana Jobless Rate Hits 16.9% With Coronavirus Closures