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The Government reported incorrect unemployment data and paid less aid than it should have to workers

2020-12-02T06:37:01.491Z

Errors in the weekly payment of unemployment assistance due to the Pandemic affected certain workers. We tell who and why it could happen.



The Government Accountability Office (GAO, for its acronym in English) under the Congress, reported this Monday through a statement that the weekly unemployment benefits data from the Department of Labor have been erroneous since the beginning of the pandemic, due to to failures in government data collection.

The GAO report also revealed that most states had been paying the self-employed the minimum allowable benefit rather than the amount they should receive based on their past earnings.

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As a result, the average weekly payment for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which is available to on-demand and self-employed workers, is

below the poverty line in 70% of the states that provided data

, according to The Wall newspaper. Street Journal.

The report comes as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and the extension of regular employment insurance from 39 to 26 weeks, will expire at the end of December, while negotiations between Democrats, Republicans and the White House on another round of economic relief It has been stagnant for months.

The program that provides an additional $ 600 in weekly benefits expired in August.

These findings are part of a report that examined the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The document adds that the weekly data included both overestimates and underestimates of the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits, which no longer makes it a reliable indicator, according to the agency.

Since the lockdown and shutdown of the economy earlier in the year due to the pandemic, the weekly jobless claim figures from the Labor Department have been one of the most important economic data for politicians and investors.

This data is released a week late, providing a near real-time picture of the state of the labor market.

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But the Labor Department report for the entire country is based on data received from state unemployment offices, which were inundated with applications during the peaks of the health crisis, and as a result did not report claims due to bureaucratic collapse.

The GAO, which says it does not know the full extent of the errors, reported that the problem arose because the Department of Labor was using the number of citizens filing claims in each state as an indicator of the number of people claiming benefits nationwide. .



According to the agency,

the result has been inaccurate counts due to long delays in historical claims processing

and other data collection problems, warning that this is likely to hamper politicians to make decisions.

"Without accurate accounting of the number of people who depend on these benefits within the closest timeframe, legislators may be challenged to respond to the crisis," the GAO notes in its report.

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The agency recommended that the Labor Department review its weekly press releases to clarify that the figures in the reports are not an accurate estimate of the number of people claiming benefits.

He also asked the department to seek other means to get more accurate readings on benefits applications, such as the use of data collected by states.

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The GAO report notes that the Department of Labor agreed to review its weekly press releases and seek options to obtain more accurate data from the states.

But the Labor Department objected to the recommendation to seek state data dating back to January 2020, claiming its compilation would put an undue burden on already overburdened state unemployment offices.

A line of cars in front of a Pittsburgh community food bank in Duquesne, Pennsylvania on November 23, 2020.AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar

[At least 12 million Americans will lose government unemployment assistance after Christmas]

Initial jobless claims have dropped dramatically since they peaked at nearly seven million in March.

But they are still above the levels recorded in any previous recession.

Approximately 9.1 million people have received benefits through the coronavirus pandemic unemployment assistance program in the week ending November 7.

In the week ending Nov. 14, about 6.1 million claimed benefits through regular state programs, according to The Wall Street Journal.



With information from AP and The Wall Street Journal.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2020-12-02

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