Research / Workforce

Policy Analysis | February 2021

Unemployment in the SLC Region Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Roger Moore

Last updated: February 19, 2021

Disclaimer: On November 30, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the U.S. Department of Labor has inaccurately reported the number of people filing for unemployment benefits during the pandemic. Due to the historic number of individuals filing for benefits since March, and states' frequent backlogs processing the claims, the traditional method of reporting unemployment has not accurately captured the number of unique individuals claiming benefits, according to the GAO report. For example, if a person files for five weeks of benefits in a given week, the Department of Labor typically counts it as five separate claimants, not one. This method of reporting normally is a reliable proxy for the number of unique individuals claiming benefits, but it cannot account for states' processing delays and claimants retroactively applying for benefits during the pandemic.

This SLC Policy Analysis will continue updating the figures as they are reported weekly by the Department of Labor. While the absolute figures may not be accurate, the trend levels remain helpful for understanding the overall employment outlook.

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Webinar | October 2020

Going the Distance: COVID-19 and Remote Work Implications for State Governments

Cody Allen

As a consequence of the ongoing pandemic and state public safety restrictions, many public sector employees who provide much needed services – often in direct response to the ongoing crisis – transitioned to remote work as a means to keep government and legislative services functioning. With economists projecting a more than $394 billion revenue shortfall for states through the end of Fiscal Year 2021, the cost savings of implementing a flexible remote workforce may lessen the impact of the economic downturn on state services, as well as allow for increased efficiency in operations. This program examines remote work arrangements and innovations in government operations during the current pandemic and how these telework arrangements may benefit government efficiency, and lower costs, in the short- and long-terms.


Byron Decoteau, Director, State Civil Service, Louisiana
Peter Heimbach, Director of Special Projects and Real Estate Asset Management, Department of General Services, Tennessee
Jennifer Murphy, Assistant Commissioner of Design, Construction, Facilities Management and Leasing, Department of General Services, Tennessee

Leveraging Opportunity Zones for Economic Development
Webinar | August 2020

Leveraging Opportunity Zones for Economic Development

Roger Moore

SLC Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee Virtual Program

Presiding Officer: Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter, Alabama; Vice Chair, SLC Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee

The Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 included new incentives for stimulating private investment, economic development and job creation in underserved communities, designated as Opportunity Zones. According to the IRS, there are more than 8,700 Qualified Opportunity Zones nationally, including more than 3,000 in the SLC region. Under the program, individuals or entities that invest in economically distressed areas qualify for capital gains tax breaks. This program outlines the benefits and concerns surrounding Opportunity Zones and explores what actions states and localities can take to ensure that tax-advantaged funding is delivering sustainable investment in underserved communities.


Jorge González, Research Analyst, Urban Institute, Washington, D.C.
Brady Meixell, Research Analyst, Urban Institute, Washington, D.C.


Manly Barton


Vice Chair

Nathaniel Ledbetter


Past Chair

Jeanie Lauer


Roger Moore

Roger Moore
Senior Policy Analyst

The SLC Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee examines issues related to infrastructure, transportation, economic progress and cultural strengths in the Southern region. Discussions and reports of the committee have focused on Southern state actions to bring manufacturing operations of national and foreign companies to the region, as well as the importance of ports, roads and railways for the movement of manufactured goods. The committee has a long history of studying the impact of the Panama Canal expansion and international trade with Mexico, Canada and China on Southern state economies.

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