WorkNow Series | Part 4: The Unemployment Rate Has Skyrocketed


Amanda Davis

July 21, 2020

Workforce departments have always faced issues, from minute to major, on a daily basis—even before the coronavirus pandemic struck. However, the declaration of national emergency in March has led to millions of lay-offs around the country, and a record-breaking unemployment rate that has left workforce departments and systems overwhelmed. 

According to NPR and Politico, unemployment systems across the country crashed due to nearly 7,000 people attempting to file at once and 78,000 attempting to file within three days. Displaced workers are calling hundreds of times, millions continue to file every month, and workforce offices are getting hundreds of complaints because their unequipped systems are too slow. The economic crash caused by the pandemic has only revealed that current workforce systems in place are outdated to handle the number of unemployment claims the nation is facing and could continue to face for the next coming months.

In order for the economic recovery to begin, displaced workers will need a trusted place to begin their job search, employers will need a way to weed through the hundreds on qualified and unqualified applicants they receive, and government programs will need to handle the number of claims without being overwhelmed. With demand for labor and workforce services this high, there needs to be one easy solution for these problems — preferably a digital solution that allows accessibility anywhere. Digital credentials efficiently address this new reality for all aspects of the workforce, and help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support in order to succeed in the labor market. 

Merit’s WorkNow program in particular can be beneficial to workforce departments and displaced workers in multiple ways. As a digital platform, WorkNow can be used remotely (online) and utilizes data from local, state, and federal sources to provide people with digital, verified credentials to ensure reliable applicants. WorkNow does the tedious step of separating unqualified and qualified applicants looking to hire, saving them time to find the right candidate. While lightening the load and removing the manual labor of administrative work done by the workforce department.

For displaced workers and job seekers that need a reliable source to connect them to all available opportunities in their specific industry and geographic location, Merit’s platform enables the automatic flow of relevant public and private sector opportunities directly to them using the Department of Labor data. The WorkNow program includes unemployment services, training programs, and job opportunities and relies on existing credentials to move workers from searching to hired quickly through digital channels.

At a glance, the four major points of improvement in the workforce department can be solved with one solution: digital credentialing. Having one centralized platform that issues, verifies, updates, and files credentials in a matter of seconds will save time and money for everyone. Having a system of trust and efficiency does not have to be a rare commodity. Get started building a credential-fueled approach to job placement at


To take a deeper dive and hear from professionals in workforce development, don’t miss out on our WorkNow Webinar Series where we outline and discuss strategies for labor and workforce leaders to tackle today’s issues and empower dislocated workers. Click here to watch past sessions.


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