The pace of new unemployment claims has been staggering. On May 7, the federal government reported that another 3.2 million people filed first-time unemployment claims in the previous week, bringing the total to more than 33 million in just seven weeks. The official unemployment rate now stands at 14.7 percent, a figure unseen since the Great Depression, and the Labor Department reported that 20.5 million jobs were lost in April.
Those filings have put unprecedented strain on state unemployment systems, leading to crashed websites and delayed aid to residents who have been put out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to an April report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, at least 26 state unemployment insurance websites had crashed recently.