University News

WIU History Professor Weighs in on Financial Response to Pandemic

June 4, 2020

Share |
Printer friendly version

MACOMB, IL – A Western Illinois University Department of History professor, who researches labor history, has been called on to contribute to the discussion about unemployment today.

Professor Peter Cole was one of several experts who provided responses to questions from The topics included offering their advice on people who didn't qualify for stimulus payments and how they feel about "insured unemployment" as an accurate measure of the unemployment rate.

"As I wrote in the first portion of my section, I'm a historian of 20th century U.S. history, with a specialty in labor and working-class history," said Cole. "In this article, I discussed the surprisingly complicated reality of the unemployment rate, which is measured by the U.S. Department of Labor, but generally undercounts the actual number of unemployed people. I also noted that, as we all can see, the U.S. continues to suffer from the worst global pandemic since the 1918-19 influenza. That the wealthiest and most powerful country in the history of the world--with about 4 percent of the world's population--has suffered about 30 percent of the infections and deaths is both shocking and utterly depressing."

To view Cole's complete responses to the questions, visit

Posted By: Jodi Pospeschil (
Office of University Communications & Marketing