DOL numbers indicate that 28.4 million workers are either receiving unemployment benefits or have applied and are waiting to see if they will get benefits (as of September 19, 2020): *But caution, this is an overestimate due to reporting issues (see below)*

Regular state UI: Continued claims Regular state UI: Initial claims PUA: Continued claims PUA: Initial claims Other programs (mostly PEUC, STC, and EB) Total
Cumulative  12,580,000

Caution: This is a substantial overestimate for at least two reasons: (1) initial claims for regular state UI and PUA should be nonoverlapping—that is how DOL has directed agencies to report them—but some individuals are erroneously being counted as being in both programs; (2) some states are including  retroactive payments in their continuing PUA claims, which would also lead to double-counting.

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Seasonally adjusted data are used for regular state UI claims; seasonally adjusted data are not available for the other components of the chart. Regular state UI continued claims are for the week ending September 12; regular state UI initial claims are for the week ending September 19. PUA continued claims are for the week ending September 5; PUA initial claims are for the weeks ending September 12 and September 19. “Other programs” are continued claims in other programs for the week ending September 5. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is the federal program for workers who are out of work because of the virus but who are not eligible for regular state unemployment insurance (UI) benefits (e.g., the self-employed). “Other programs” includes PEUC, STC, EB, and others; a full list can be found in the bottom panel of the table on page 4 at this link:

Source: Department of Labor (DOL) Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims (News Release), retrieved from DOL,, September 24, 2020.

View the underlying data on