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Understanding the Accuracy of Unemployment Insurance Data: Evidence from the Appalachia Region


Authors: Marianne H. Wanamaker, Evan Newell

Publication Date: July 16, 2020

Initial and continuing unemployment insurance claims are some of the only high-frequency data points on the U.S. labor market. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the weekly claims numbers have been a highly followed metric of economic damage. Close examination reveals clear errors in unemployment insurance claims numbers, making it hard to compare claims within and across states, and clouding our interpretation of national totals.

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