Actors' Equity Association released the following statement following the new unemployment report, which found that over 850,000 Americans have newly applied for unemployment in the last week, the highest it has been since September, and a jump of over 100,000 from the week prior.
The new report comes following a U.S. Government Accountability Office study found that millions of unemployed Americans are not receiving the benefits to which they are entitled under the pandemic unemployment assistance program (PUA) that is used by many in the arts and entertainment industry. According to the study, many states have been paying PUA claims at the minimum benefit level instead of based on past earnings.
"What's tragic is not just the raw numbers, but more than four months after supplemental federal unemployment benefits expired, the Senate still hasn't acted," said Mary McColl, executive director of Actors' Equity Association. "As the virus continues to rage out of control, the arts and entertainment industry remains shut down and the workers are devastated. Congress must act."