Research / Workforce


Policy Analysis | July 2020

Unemployment in the SLC Region Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Roger Moore

Last updated: July 2, 2020

Disclaimer: The research presented draws upon statistics used by the U.S. Department of Labor to monitor weekly unemployment data. Many concerns have been raised regarding states' difficulties processing the large and sudden influx of unemployment insurance claims following restrictions that were enacted beginning in mid-March to stop the spread of COVID-19. This SLC Policy Analysis does not address these concerns and utilizes only the data compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor. For more information about what actions state unemployment agencies are taking in response to the coronavirus, see the SLC Policy Analysis "Coronavirus Response at State Unemployment Agencies."

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Policy Analysis | June 2020

Coronavirus Response at State Unemployment Agencies

Nick Bowman

Disclaimer: Employment figures prior to the passage of the CARES Act at the end of March do not include independent contactors and other self-employed workers who historically have not qualified for unemployment insurance. As a result, data following the enactment of the CARES Act will include previously ineligible unemployed individuals who now qualify for benefits, effective until the end of 2020. For more information on unemployment, see the SLC Policy Analysis “Unemployment in the SLC Region Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Since emerging in December 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)—the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)—has infected millions and caused catastrophic economic impacts. As of May 28, 2020, the coronavirus had infected 5.6 million and contributed to 355,000 deaths worldwide, including 1.73 million cases and more than 100,000 deaths in the United States.1 The infections, deaths and quarantine policies have had devastating economic effects. Prior to the outbreak, unemployment was on a multi-year downward trend, with the national unemployment rate below 5 percent for 42 consecutive months. March’s unemployment rate was 4.4 percent. One month later, the rate soared to 14.7 percent.2

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Policy Analysis | January 2020

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Roger Moore

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federal assistance program administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Established in 1996 as a replacement for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), TANF is designed to provide struggling families with financial assistance, childcare support and job preparation to achieve self-sufficiency. Under TANF, states receive block grants from the federal government to operate their own programs to meet the following objectives:

  1. “Provide assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives”
  2. “End the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage”
  3. “Prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and establish annual numerical goals for preventing and reducing the incidence of these pregnancies”
  4. “Encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families”1

The amount of the TANF block grant is based on states’ expenditures for AFDC during the fiscal year (FY) 1992-1995 period, when the number of public assistance recipients was relatively high.2 The total annual TANF block grant amounts to nearly $17 billion, with SLC states receiving grants from a high of $538,595,947 in Texas, to a low of $62,839,408 in Arkansas during FY 2018.3

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2019-2020
Chair

Representative
Manly Barton

Mississippi

2019-2020
Vice Chair

Representative
Nathaniel Ledbetter

Alabama

Immediate
Past Chair

Representative
Jeanie Lauer

Missouri

Committee
Liaison
Roger Moore

Roger Moore
Policy Analyst


The SLC Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee examines issues related to infrastructure, economic progress and cultural strengths in the Southern region. Discussions and reports of the committee have focused on Southern state actions to bring manufacturing operations of national and foreign companies to the region, as well as the importance of ports, roads and railways for the movement of manufactured goods. The committee has a long history of studying the impact of the Panama Canal expansion and international trade with Mexico, Canada and China on Southern state economies.

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