According to the Department of Labor, about 26 million have lost their jobs and sought unemployment since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. But a new survey by the Economic Policy Institute indicates that the true number of Americans who have lost their jobs in the last five weeks is likely much higher.
According to the survey, for every 10 people who successfully applied for unemployment, another three to four people gave up because they could not get through their state's system to make a claim. An additional two people didn't even bother trying because they knew it would be too difficult.
The group estimates that between March 22 and April 18, between 7.8 and 12.2 million additional people could have filed for unemployment had the process been easier. That's in addition to the 21.5 million people who successfully filed for benefits during that same span.
The Institute's survey comes amid numerous media reports of Americans struggling with states' antiquated and under-funded unemployment systems.
Last Friday, Florida shut down its unemployment system as employees used the weekend to catch up on claims. More than 400,000 claims were processed over the weekend, and the state says many more are still waiting. Even then, the state has rejected 40 percent of those who apply for unemployment benefits.
states have further struggled to process unemployment claims because their websites were built using antiquated computer code, leading to website crashes.