Skip to main content
Monthly Archives

February 2021

Unemployment Weekly Claims Report for the Week-Ending February 20, 2021

The Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims report for the week ending February 20, 2021 has been released by the Department of Labor.

  • Seasonally adjusted initial claims: 730,000
  • 4 week moving average: 807,750
  • Seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • Seasonally adjusted insured unemployment number: 4,419,000
  • 4-week moving average: 4,547,000
  • Number of unadjusted claims: 710,313
  • Unadjusted insured unemployment rate: 3.4%
  • Unadjusted number claiming UI benefits: 4,828,027

The full news release report can be downloaded here.

Legislation Introduced Retroactively Lowering North Carolina 2021 Unemployment Tax Rates

The North Carolina Unemployment Insurance Oversight Committee has introduced a bill to retroactively lower 2021 unemployment tax rates for all employers in the state.

Senate Bill DRS35052 was introduced in the February 17, 2021 General Assembly Session and is still in draft form at the moment.  However, this bill is getting full support from the North Carolina Division of Employment Security as well as employers within the state who have seen a drastic increase in their state unemployment tax rates from 2020 to 2021.  All this even though the NC DES excluded COVID-related benefit charges from the 2021 tax rate calculation.

If passed, SB DRS35052 will reduce the base contribution rate from 2.40% to 1.90% thus causing rates to fall back to 2020, pre-pandemic levels.  Although this bill is still in its infancy, the NC DES has reportedly begun internal testing in order to issue revised, retroactive tax rate calculations upon its passage.

As always, if there are any questions please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our website at www.thomas-and-company.com.

Unemployment Weekly Claims Report for the Week-Ending February 13, 2021

The Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims report for the week ending February 13, 2021 has been released by the Department of Labor.

  • Seasonally adjusted initial claims: 861,000
  • 4 week moving average: 833,250
  • Seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate: 3.2%
  • Seasonally adjusted insured unemployment number: 4,494,000
  • 4-week moving average: 4,632,000
  • Number of unadjusted claims: 862,351
  • Unadjusted insured unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • Unadjusted number claiming UI benefits: 4,945,014

The full news release report can be downloaded here.

Maryland Unemployment Tax Rate Calculations to Exclude COVID-19 Claims

The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation announced that unemployment tax rate calculations for 2021 are to exclude unemployment benefits claimed during the COVID-19 outbreak in a measure signed February 15, 2021 by Governor Larry Hogan.

Under the measure (SB 496), the computation date July 1, 2019, is to be used to determine an employer’s unemployment benefit ratio if using that date would result in a lower benefit ratio and a lower unemployment tax rate.  The provision takes effect starting with unemployment tax rate calculations for 2022 and expires June 30, 2025.

The adjustment would effectively exclude unemployment benefit claims data from fiscal years affected by the pandemic and prevent future tax rates from increasing because of those claims.  Tax rates for 2022 are to be determined using the same benefit ratios used to calculate tax rates for 2020.

The July 1, 2019 computation date also was used to determine tax rates for 2021 to exclude benefit data from fiscal 2020 and to allow employers to maintain the same benefit ratio for 2021 as in 2020, under an executive order signed December 10, 2020.

The measure also allows employers with fewer than 50 employees to defer sending unemployment tax and wage reports for the first, second, and third quarters of 2021, until the deadline for fourth-quarter reports, which is Jan. 31, 2022.

As always, if there are any questions please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our website at www.thomas-and-company.com.

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Make the Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program Permanent

On February 8, 2021, a bipartisan bill named the Work Opportunity Tax Credit & Jobs Act was introduced by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) which would strengthen federal efforts to connect long-term unemployed with jobs.

The current program legislation is set to expire on December 31, 2025, but this bill would make an employer tax credit a permanent solution for those who hire individuals who face barriers to employment.

“Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever individuals who are in the shadows are struggling to find meaningful employment”, said Senator Portman.  “Encouraging employers to hire those who have the most trouble finding work is good policy, and wile securing a five-year extension last year was a positive step, it’s critical that we make the Work Opportunity Tax Credit permanent.”

“The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is one of our best tools to promote the employment of those who find it hardest to get a job. But to be effective employers need the certainty a permanent extension provides and tens of thousands of families in Maryland need to know we have their back from now on,” said Senator Cardin. “That’s why we need to invest in this effective program permanently, to ensure those who need the most help are getting it.”

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program provides an employer tax credit of between $1,200 and $9,600 per employee for hiring and retaining individuals that are part of certain targeted groups representing populations that have a difficult time finding work, or are often out of the labor force altogether. The credit amount is based on the qualified wages paid to those employees within the targeted groups including veterans, long-term unemployed, ex-felons, the disabled, summer youth employees, as well as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Supplemental Security Income recipients.

“The COVID pandemic has hammered our nation’s economy, leaving millions out of work and small businesses struggling to survive,” said Senator Bob Menendez. “As we begin to recover from this crisis and build back an economy that works for all Americans, making the Work Opportunity Tax Credit permanent will provide certainty for employers to hire the long-term unemployed, veterans, and others who’ve been locked out of the workforce. We have both an economic interest and moral obligation to ensure that every individual has a fair shot in our economy to work hard, support a family and contribute to our society. Making this tax credit permanent is the smart and right thing to do.”

Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employers added 196,000 jobs in March, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8 percent. However, the number of long-term unemployed people (those who were without jobs for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.3 million in March and accounted for 21.1 percent of the unemployed.

“It can be difficult for Americans to find a job when they’re out of the work force,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This Work Opportunity Tax Credit permanency bill ensures those struggling to find work are helped by continuing to incentivize businesses to hire them.”

The bill has been sent to the Senate Finance Committee for further review and we are hopeful this permanent solution is underway.

As always, if there are any questions please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our website at www.thomas-and-company.com.

Unemployment Weekly Claims Report for the Week-Ending February 6, 2021

The Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims report for the week ending February 6, 2021 has been released by the Department of Labor.

  • Seasonally adjusted initial claims: 793,000
  • 4 week moving average: 823,000
  • Seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate: 3.2%
  • Seasonally adjusted insured unemployment number: 4,545,000
  • 4-week moving average: 4,748,750
  • Number of unadjusted claims: 813,145
  • Unadjusted insured unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • Unadjusted number claiming UI benefits: 5,025,135

The full news release report can be downloaded here.

Unemployment Weekly Claims Report for the Week-Ending January 30, 2021

The Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims report for the week ending January 30, 2021 has been released by the Department of Labor.

  • Seasonally adjusted initial claims: 779,000
  • 4 week moving average: 848,250
  • Seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate: 3.2%
  • Seasonally adjusted insured unemployment number: 4,592,000
  • 4-week moving average: 4,881,750
  • Number of unadjusted claims: 816,247
  • Unadjusted insured unemployment rate: 3.6%
  • Unadjusted number claiming UI benefits: 5,094,605

The full news release report can be downloaded here.