Unemployment in our state appears to have topped out around 19% in mid-May, a figure released by the Connecticut Department of Labor this week.
Call it the “pandemic peak," something Connecticut DOL research director Andy Condon discussed with NBC Connecticut.
“It looks like the process of job recovery is beginning. It looks like we have seen the worst of the job loss. Our payroll job survey indicates that the state actually recovered 25,800 jobs in May, indicating that people are beginning the process of going back to work after being held at home for the pandemic.”
The CT DOL figures were much higher than those from the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, but Condon said the BLS, which gets help from the Census Bureau gathering the data, had some issues with its calculations.
“It looks as if certain key questions which help indicate where a person is employed or unemployed, are being misinterpreted. Partly caused by the pandemic, and the complications about people staying at home and who is working or not working from home.”
The challenge now in many ways, is getting more people back to work.
The jobs may be there, but so is risk without a coronavirus vaccine. Plus, getting a $600 per week unemployment payment from the federal government, along with concerns of catching the disease, makes it hard for people to get motivated.
However, those payments end in July, as Gov. Ned Lamont warned.
“You’ve got another month, and now’s the time to plan for that day that you get back to work, now that all the stores and businesses are pretty much open," he said.
The governor says instead of continuing the $600 per week federal unemployment benefit some have pushed for in Congress, others are considering giving out federal cash in a different way.
“A few other ideas out there. One of them is we’ll pay you $450 when you go back to work. That’s a plan that’s circulating around the House and Senate.“
The Department of Labor also updated its efforts to process more than 633,000 unemployment claims it has received since March 13. It says as of right now, about 20,000 claims still have not been processed, with the time it takes to process the claims down from six weeks, to two.