Thursday, May 28, 2020

Oregon House Business and Labor Committee Meeting Provided Enough Data to Estimate Regular UI Benefits at Rate of $430M Per Month w $108M Available for Housing Expenses.

The Employment Department presentation at the Oregon House Business and Labor Committee meeting yesterday disappointingly did NOT have any total dollar figure for unemployment benefits being paid. 

However during a portion of the presentation Employment manager David Gerstenfeld indicated that as of mid May there were a total of 224,000 claims being paid out of a universe of 441,000 claims filed since March. 

[You can confirm this at around 2:45:50 into the video]:

Using the April average weekly benefit amount of $443 I was able to project the total amount of regular unemployment insurance being paid on a weekly basis and then extrapolate that to a monthly amount.  

The table pasted below shows MY calculations.

Those calculations show that the projected total monthly regular unemployment assistance was at the rate of $430M per month for those 224,000 filers who were receiving benefit payments as of mid May.

At this rate after taxes, if 30% of those benefits were used for housing that would mean $108M  per month would be available for housing expenses.   (Note that in the full year of CY 2019 HUD housing voucher assistance payments in Oregon were $250M). 

Note that these regular unemployment insurance totals do NOT include PUA, extended benefits, or the full $600 for FPUC. In the presentation the indication was that half of the $600 FPUC was being withheld "to repay prior UI over payments"; the benefit of doing so was not explained in the presentation.

They also do NOT include claims that have been filed and are still under investigation before payment has occurred.

In the DOL weekly release made this morning Oregon had a total of 290,151 insured unemployed claims as of May 9th, and reported another another 23,539 initial claims during the week ending May 9th. [These are declines from the prior week; the DOL report is available HERE].

The latest weekly DOL report did not show any Oregon PUA initial claims through May 23rd.

(The Oregon Employment Department is likely to issue a news release today with more information on Oregon claims).

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog.

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