Coronavirus - Latest on UI Benefits
Updated : February 2nd, 2022
A Bill that will allow UI benefits to unvaccinated West Virginians.
Last week, West Virginia lawmakers proposed a bill under which unvaccinated people will be allowed to receive UI benefits. It is typically for people who left their jobs because they were denied a medical or religious exemption to the vaccine. As per the data presented by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, 53% of residents are fully vaccinated yet.
Mark Maynard has stated that" This piece of legislation merely defends some of those that want to opt-out on the vaccination. This gives them a little bit of a cushion to figure out what they're going to do with their life."
A Relief for some NJ residents, no repayments will be taken from them
Recently, the Labor Department of the States declared about the overpayment waivers, but as per the latest findings, some N.J. residents might not have to repay the benefits. The U.S. Department of Labor has updated the guidance under which overpayment waivers are allowed only in specific situations.
Furthermore, the New Jersey Labor Commissioner added that "Millions of unemployed workers deemed eligible for federal pandemic unemployment benefits later found out that the rules had changed, and, through no fault of their own, were no longer considered eligible — months after they had spent the money on necessities like food and housing."
The U.S. Labor Department may waive certain unemployment overpayments
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor revised the guidelines on states' ability to waive certain unemployment overpayments. The updated guidance contains five categories under which the overpayments can be waived. These categories include receipt of COVID-19 related benefits such as Pandemic Unemployment Benefits (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).
The New Jersey Department of Labor is now working on the details of the updated guidance. So soon, they can notify further steps to claimants eligible for overpayment waivers.
Despite Omicron, 467,000 new jobs have been added in the States
As per the latest report published by the Labor Department, the unemployment rate has ticked up to 4%. Businesses seem to have a temporary impact on the omicron wave but are still confident for long-term growth.
However, U.S. employers have added 476,000 new job opportunities in January despite the omicron inflections. It demonstrates employers' eagerness to hire more people, but people are not ready to work as either they are sick with COVID-19 or have to care for someone else who has!
$400M Program to generate employment for COVID-unemployed Vets
The VRRAP (Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program) received backing by Congress and began accepting applications in May. The program’s cap for applicants is no more than 17,250 yet after eight months since the program’s inception, only 3,400 veterans have participated.
The Department of Veteran Affairs’ officials are unclear as to the reason of the program’s poor performance. The program is to lose its funding if the remaining money is not spent or assigned by the end of this year. Members of VA express hope for things to pick up by then.
The Biggest Mismatch Recorded By Bureau Of Labor Statistics Since 2000
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job openings in December was double that of unemployed people. However, the latest figures show how COVID-19 has upended the US job market.
A renowned economist claims that this trend will remain unchanged until the demand-supply of jobs becomes more balanced. As of now, both employers and workers are struggling to find the right fit.
The PUA program in California has become the target of massive fraud.
To date, roughly 2.9 million Californians received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits. More than 1.4 million were asked last year to prove that they have received federally funded PUA benefits. The State’s employment department states that they would add a 30% penalty "if we determine that you intentionally gave false information or withheld information to receive benefits.
So, people who have claimed PUA benefits in 2020 or filed a new claim after December27 2020 should provide documentation to EDD. The document must show that the person had worked;the proof can be your business license, tax return, a letter from a prospective employer, or state or federal employer identification number.
California Senator’s bill to do away with COVID vaccine mandate exemption
Sen.Richard Pan is proposing a bill that overrides personal belief exemptions against the coronavirus vaccine mandates for schools. While this piece of legislation is controversial, it is not completely out of the blue as some districts in the Bay Area have already implemented vaccine requirements for students. Pan states the bill addresses the concerns of parents who are scared to send their children to school due to the risk of infection.
On the other end of the pole is another set of concerned parents who question the credibility and the safety of the COVID vaccines. For these groups, the lack of FDA approval and taking the decision out of their hands has led to resentment. The bill in question, even if approved, wouldn’t take effect until the next year. However, with the opposition towards it, whether the bill gets passed or not remains to be seen.
Industries that are on a Hiring Spree During the Covid-19
Despite the ongoing economic crisis plaguing almost every industry, there seems to be at least some unscathed by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, these industries, instead of following the ubiquitous trend of laying-off people, are doing precisely the opposite - hiring people, that too on a massive scale.
The pharmaceutical industry, telecommunication industry, grocery stores, and the call center industry are the few industries that are not only thriving in these dark times but have also created substantial job vacancies to meet the burgeoning consumer demand. This is a good opportunity for the recently unemployed to get back on track.
White House warns Americans that the rate unemployment could increase by June
Senior economic advisor to Donald Trump, Kevin Hassett stated that unemployment could reach Senior economic advisor to Donald Trump, Kevin Hassett stated that unemployment could reach anywhere between 16% to 20% by June. This would be a huge jump from the current unemployment rate which is at 4.4%. If the unemployment rate touches 20% it would be the highest since the 1930s.
Since the beginning of March, COVID-19 has crushed the American economy, leaving millions jobless. Several industries across the country are badly affected due to this. As of now no one is really sure when the wheels of the economy will start spinning again. Use this time to introspect and spend more time with your loved ones.
Top 5 Industries that Could be Sickened by the Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic could pave the way for a recession, making at least five industries more vulnerable than others. Financial experts announced that the country’s GDP shrank and are unsure of whether this economic situation would prevail over the five subsequent months. During this period, the top five industries that are vulnerable to this recession are arts, entertainment, and recreation; mining oil and gas, accommodation and food services, and administrative services and waste management.
Low-wage workers will be the most affected, as their minimal savings will be insufficient even for their monthly expenditure.
Many States have seen a huge increase in unemployment claims due to the pandemic
Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Kentucky, and Georgia, have seen a huge spike in claims since mid march. This comes due to an increasing number of companies laying off their employees across several sectors. Some companies across the country have taken subtler measures such as cutting pay or furloughing employees for the time being.
State unemployment websites are also facing the heat as they are not able to cope with the increased demands. States have to come up with different strategies to meet the rising demands in unemployment claims.
Only 45% people still employed in Los Angeles
A recent study by USC suggests that only 45% people are now employed in L.A county. The California Economic Development Department’s (EDD) latest report suggests that the unemployment rate shot up from 4.3% in February to 6.3% in March. The hospitality sector took the biggest hit losing a total of 20,000 jobs according to a report.
These are worrying times for the country's citizens as mass lay-offs are expected very soon. Unemployment offices are also facing the heat with the rising number of people filing for claims. It is now up to the Governors of each state to try and minimize the economic loss as quickly as possible.
Michigan and Pennsylvania suffer the most number of job losses
20% of workers in Michigan and Pennsylvania have filed for unemployment claims due to COVID-19. According to statistics, one in five people have filed for unemployment benefits in the two states. States such as New York, Florida and Texas have never seen such a large number of claims. In spite of state unemployment offices adding staff, claims are not being processed in a timely manner.
The current situation in the country has shaken a lot of people, as the economy was fairly stable before COVID-19. It is now up to the people of the country to support each other and get through this crisis together.
A new system developed to file for claims in Kansas
The Kansas Department of Labor has designed a new system to handle the demands on the unemployment benefits system. The new method is called ‘gating’ which allows people to file for benefits based on the first letters of their last name. Last names which begin with the letters A - M can file for benefits on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Last names that begin with N - Z will be able to file on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Saturday will be a standby day for those who missed filing for benefits. Delía García, Kansas Secretary of Labor said, “When Kansans follow this guideline, we believe it will reduce the load on the system and allow claimants to file claims on time.”
Unemployment set to increase as the pandemic spreads
Over the last five weeks, more than 22 million Americans have filed for Unemployment benefits. This is because more than 18.3 million jobs have been lost due to the Coronavirus pandemic. According to Morgan Stanley’s analysts, lay-offs started in the service sector and have now moved to many other divisions.
Predictions by several analysts indicate that America could see job losses of 30 million due to the pandemic. Andrew Stettner, an unemployment expert, from the Century Foundation claims that 1 in 7 workers are now jobless. State unemployment offices are doing their best to cope with the high number of applications. There is no set timeline as to when things will get better until then everyone should try staying calm and remain patient.
Texans struggle to file for unemployment assistance despite workforce commission adding employees
Several unemployed people in Texas are finding it difficult to apply for UI benefits. This comes even after the Texas Workforce Commission increased the staff numbers to help file claims faster. Cisco Gamez, the spokesperson of the commission, said that they have helped more than 1.2 million people apply for benefits since 14 March. Gamez further added, "That's a year-and-a-half of claims in just a month's time."
The Workforce Commission’s call center operated from 7 a.m to 7 p.m this week. The department is also planning to add a couple of more centers next week. Hopefully, these efforts will bear fruit and Texans will be able to file for benefits without any hitches.
Ohio still struggling to pay extended unemployment benefits
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services recently announced that it will only be in a position to pay extended benefits by the end of next week. The department now has a dedicated team that will process these extended benefits. Several other large states such as Washington, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Nevada are still finding it difficult to process these extended benefits.
States like Michigan, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky have already started paying additional benefits. The Associated Press reported 32 states will be in a position to provide extra benefits by the end of this week. Clearly, this is a very tough time for every one unemployed and states should do their best to provide these benefits ASAP.
ESPN wants its top commentators to opt for pay cuts
ESPN has asked 100 of its commentators and top talent to opt for a voluntary pay cut of 15%. This move comes as the American sports industry is inoperational due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The company informed its executives that accepting a 15% deduction will help in reducing furloughs of the lower-paid employees.
Though the exact number of employees accepting deductions is unclear, these pay cuts are set to last for a period of three months. Earlier this month some of the company’s top executives took a pay cut between 20% - 30%. A statement issued by the company announced that these are challenging times and they are all in this together.
Harvard top administrators set to receive salary deductions
Harvard, one of the top universities in the country, recently reported that its top administrators will take pay cuts. Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, Executive Vice President Katherine Lapp, and Provost Alan Garber will receive a 25% deduction in their salaries.
An email from Harvard stated that "While many decisions and choices will come into sharper focus in the future, it is already clear that we need to take some actions immediately to align our spending with the decline in our revenue.” Several other universities across the country are also thinking of ways to cut costs since revenue is down. These are tough times for education institutions as both students and faculty are suffering.
Baker McKenzie decides to cut salaries by 15%
Baker McKenzie - a global law firm - is set to cut employee’s pay by 15%. The firm announced that these cuts will begin from May 1st. Baker McKenzie also asserted that the deductions will help avoid staff lay-offs. The duration of these pay cuts is not known, but many analysts believe they will probably last until the end of 2021.
This legal firm is one of the largest organizations in the world, with offices in more than 45 countries. Several other legal associations in the country have laid off their employees in the last couple of weeks. No lay-offs have been announced as yet by Baker McKenzie.
Vox plans to furlough around 100 employees very soon
Vox - the American digital media company - is set to furlough 100 employees later this week. Last week employees of the company received an email from the CEO, stating that the companies advertising revenues have taken a hit. As of now, the company is set to furlough its employees for a period of three months.
Vox digital media is also thinking to reduce salaries for top-level employees very soon. The company is trying its best not to lay-off employees for the time being. Several other digital media companies such as Buzzfeed and Group Nine Media have already cut costs in many different ways.
Marylanders wait long hours to file for UI benefits
Unemployed people in Maryland are facing several difficulties filing for unemployment benefits. The state unemployment site is slow and people are having to wait a long time to file their applications. Maryland saw 132,000 unemployed people file for benefits in March. This number is quite close to last year's total of 165,000 people who applied for unemployment benefits.
The call center dealing with unemployment claims has extended its working hours from 7 a.m to 6. pm, to assist the claimants’ queries. This comes as a welcome move as many people have doubts pertaining to unemployment. State officials have said that currently there is no clarity as to when people will receive the $600 weekly benefits amount.
Mayo Clinic now announces furloughs and pay cuts
Mayo Clinic, America’s premier non-profit academic medical center, is cutting pay and furloughing its employees. This move comes as the clinic is facing losses of close to $3 billion dollars in 2020. The clinic has also decided to halt surgeries and preserve supplies since there could be a huge surge of COVID-19 patients.
More than 20,000 of the clinic’s employees will receive pay cuts. Who will be furloughed is not yet decided by the clinic, but temporary leaves have been planned for some of the employees. Mayo Clinic has hospitals across five states in the country, and a workforce of 70,000 employees out of which 40,000 work in Minnesota.
Walt Disney World plans to furlough 43,000 employees
Walt Disney World, Florida is set to furlough 43,000 employees since it closed down last month. The furloughs are set to begin from April 19. Employees will continue receiving 12 months of full health care coverage at no cost to themselves. The company has not yet decided when the furloughs will end since no one knows when the economic situation will improve.
Walt Disney has decided that all the essential workers will remain on the job. Furloughed employees will be immediately eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. Walt Disney World includes the Animal Kingdom, the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot theme parks, and employs about 77,000 people totally.
Laid-off employees will face huge challenges in paying for health care
Health Management Associates, a health care group, believes that 12%-35% of unemployed people will lose their employer-sponsored health insurance. This will bring immense financial strain and hardship to the laid-off employees. The COBRA health insurance program lets laid off employees hold on to their health insurance.
But to maintain the same level of benefits, laid-off employees need to pay the full cost of the plan, including the employer’s contribution. This can be quite expensive as costs can go up to $1000 per month or even more depending on one’s family size. Wilson, a glass and metal worker, says “95% of us won't be able to afford COBRA.”
Honda and Nissan workers filing for unemployment claims
Honda shut down its plant on 20 March, and Nissan followed suit. These companies were paying their workers initially but have now told them to file unemployment claims. Honda employees will not receive salaries from April 13th to May 1st, making them eligible for unemployment benefits. Nissan has also told its employees to apply for unemployment benefits until the plants reopen in late April. Unemployment benefit amounts for these employees will depend on the states they reside in.
Since no one can predict the future of the virus, and we are always far from the apex, the opening of the plants is uncertain. The timelines are hazy and we are in it for the long haul.
Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger decide to furlough and reduce working hours of employees
Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger - two popular clothing brands in America - have decided to furlough and reduce working hours for 75% of their employees. This move comes as both the companies’ sales have declined due to the ongoing pandemic. Full-time associates in the organization will receive pay cuts between 5%-20%, depending on their level of pay.
Both companies have decided to close their stores for two weeks due to the COVID-19 situation worsening across North America. Employees will continue to receive their medical benefits, though the stores remain shut. Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger are closing shops in Australia, Brazil, and most of Europe as well.
Top McDonald’s executives decide to take pay cuts
CEO and president of the famous fast food chain McDonald’s, Chris Kempczinski has decided to cut his base salary by 50%. He has chosen to cut his salary because sales were very low in the last month. Other top-level company executives have also chosen to receive a 25% pay cut to their base salaries. These deductions will last till 30 September.
Top-level executives in many companies have opted voluntarily for pay cuts. These cuts are necessary as the situation across the country is only getting worse by the day. Several companies and food chains across the country are also laying off employees in large numbers.
Jewish Community Centers across the country let go of employees
Jewish Community Centers (JCC) are furloughing many of their employees. The JCC of Greater Pittsburgh has furloughed 50 of its employees and shifted 50 people for part-time employment. JCC also stated that 350 part-time employees will be laid off in the near future. Several senior staff members have also decided to take salary cuts.
JCC in North Carolina temporarily laid off more than 700 employees in four centers. Atlant’s Marcus Jewish Community Center has also laid off half of its staff last week. The Kaiserman Jewish Community Center laid off 176 employees and has shut since March 13th. Several local Jewish organizations and the JCC have applied for financial help.
Tesla has announced pay cuts and is also furloughing employees
Tesla, the American electric vehicle manufacturing company will start cutting pay, and furloughing employees. Several Tesla stores across the country have closed due to the economic strain caused by COVID-19. Employees are due to receive a pay cut ranging from 10%-30% depending on their designation and level of pay.
These pay cuts will fall upon employees working from home or having critical roles in the company’s management. All non-essential employees in the company will be furloughed. An email was sent by the HR team to all employees in the company, informing them of pay cuts and furloughs. Several other automobile companies in America and world over are also taking similar steps.
FedEx CEO has decided to take a huge pay cut
A report published by the Memphis Business Journal stated that Fred Smith, CEO, chairman and the founder of FedEx Corp, has decided to take a 91% reduction in his base salary for the upcoming six months. This is not an easy step to take for any employed individual in these times of uncertainty.
The CEO’s pay until the end of September will go down from $115,402 per month to $10,728 monthly. This is a huge cut in the CEO’s salary, but according to the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, the CEO volunteered to take the pay cut. This is a noble act by the CEO of FedEx Corp and sets an example for all business leaders.
Huge surge in unemployment claims leaves California EDD struggling
California’s Employment Development Department is trying to cope with the huge number of unemployment claims being filed. The state department said that it processed close to 880,000 claims last week. This is a 370% increase from the week prior to the last. Even though such a large number of claims are getting processed by the department, they are still swamped by the rising number of applications.
Applicants are also facing several issues with the system and their login accounts, and need help to resolve the problems. But the department is not able to reach out to everyone in a timely manner. It will take quite some time for everyone's applications to get processed in these uncertain times.
Jobs still available in Maryland despite spike in unemployment claims
Even though the state has seen a huge number of unemployment claims being filed over the last few weeks, there are still a lot of jobs one can get. Jobs are available in supermarkets, and facilities that take care of senior citizens. Jobs for security guards and truck drivers are also seeing openings.
Giant Food an American supermarket chain is hiring cashiers, bakers, stock clerks, and deli counter employees in Maryland. Melvin Hopkins, Jr who owns a shop at the Giant Store says, “If you’re hiring anybody, you should have some kind of medical background and make sure they don’t have the virus.”
Hospitals letting go off staff as the COVID-19 situation worsens
Hospitals across America are losing revenue, and thus furloughing employees or enforcing pay cuts. Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida’s Miami Dade County cut paychecks and told employees to go on temporary furloughs. The Boston Medical Center Health System, also temporarily furloughed 700 employees.
Carlos Migoya, CEO of Jackson said “Our operating margins are really, really tiny. We don't make a whole lot of money, and we don't have the huge working capital of a lot of for-profit health care systems." He further added “his system has lost 40 percent of its revenue, and predicts it will lose $25 million in the month of April alone.”
Cummins decides to cut pay and reduce working hours
Cummins, an American fortune 500 company, has decided to cut salaries at all levels across the workforce. The company announced that Tom Linebarger, chairman and CEO, is set to take a 50% pay cut, while employees at the director level will receive a 25% pay cut.
Other employees of the company will see pay cuts between 10%-25%. Working hours will also be reduced for these employees. Similar actions will also be taken in offices outside the United States. These actions are necessary, as the company is going through a rough time, and no one really knows when it will end.
North Dakota is now accepting pandemic related claims
North Dakota will now accept additional claims, thanks to the recent signing of the CARES ACT. Gig workers, independent contractors, self-employed individuals, and people who have exhausted regular unemployment benefits can now file claims online. Individuals who have run out of benefits can apply for the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which offers extension up to 13 weeks.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is now active in the state, It allows claimants to get $600 of weekly benefits for four months. However, it is yet to be seen whether North Dakota will be able to cope with the rising number of unemployment applications. Several states have not been able to deal with the deluge of applications.
Caesars laying off employees due to COVID-19
Caesars, the world-famous casino and hotel, have decided to lay off employees due to the ongoing pandemic. Caesars Entertainment informed state official departments that 3,200 employees are going to lose their jobs very soon. An ex-employee told the media that no one is sure whether the layoffs are temporary or permanent.
Several other casino cum hotels are expected to layoff employees in the next couple of weeks. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on Sin City, forcing many tourists from across the globe to cancel plans. This is causing many employees working in the city to lose their jobs and they do not have money to feed their families.
Amazon fires New York employee who started a strike
An Amazon employee who started a strike at a New York city facility has been fired. Chris Smalls, the employee who was fired, told the media, “It’s a shame on them to fire someone after five years for sticking up for people and trying to give them a voice.” The strikers were demanding the shut down of the JFK8 warehouse temporarily for cleaning. This comes after several employees tested positive for COVID-19.
Several workers who participated in the strike were also demanding protective gear, and hazard pay as they worked through the pandemic. Amazon has justified their move stating that Chris Smalls had close contact with someone diagnosed, and did not remain home with 14 days pay when asked to do so.
US unemployment rate could touch 32% by the end of June
The Federal Bank of St. Louis warned that if the job losses continue across the country, the unemployment rate may reach 32.1% by June 2020. Miguel Faria-e-Castro, an economist with the St. Louis Federal Bank, believes that by the end of the second quarter, more than 47 million Americans may lose their jobs.
Bloomberg surveyed more than 40 economists and they believe that the numbers are going to be higher than those predicted by the Federal Bank. The Department of Labor is set to release the unemployment numbers for March soon. This will put the numbers into perspective, and the country will get to see the true extent of the carnage.
Huge job and salary cuts by oilfield provider Schlumberger
Due to oil prices collapsing, Schlumberger has decided to cut salaries and jobs across North America. From the beginning of the year oil prices have gone up by 60%, forcing oil companies to reduce spending on drilling and other services. All employees whose salaries are being cut are due to receive a 20% reduction starting from April 1st. Besides job cuts, the company will also restructure and furlough employees over the next few months.
The company has also decided to reduce its capital spending by 30% in 2020. The ongoing pandemic has reduced oil demand drastically, and it has caused a lot of oil companies to let go of their employees.
Texas Workforce Commission decides to backdate unemployment claims
The Texas Workforce Commission has decided to backdate unemployment claims to the date that employees were laid-off. Usually the Workforce Commision pays benefits from the beginning of the week that claimants file their application. But the new move will backdate payments from the beginning of the employees’ separation from the employer.
Cisco Gamez, spokesperson for the agency said, “We are finding claims and backdating those claims.” He further added that they were notifying the individuals whose email addresses are on record. This is a good move by the commission as the state servers, and phone lines are jammed with applicants trying to file for claims.
Gig workers face delays in receiving unemployment benefits
Gig workers and freelancers will have to wait a little longer to receive their unemployment benefits. Most of the states are not prepared as yet to accept applications from these groups of workers. This is causing a lot of anxiety and frustration for them. The delay in processing their claims is because most of the states have not received guidelines from the Department of Labor, and some of the states are yet to update their administrative process.
Arindrajit Dube, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, believes within a week or so it will become clear as to when this group can expect to receive benefits.
Unemployment claims double with 6.6 million Americans filing for benefits
Last week saw 6.6 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits. This comes after numerous businesses across the country laid off employees in different sectors. The week prior to the last, saw 3.8 million people file for claims which was a record in itself. If lay-offs continue across the country, the next week could see a larger number of people file for claims.
A lot of economists believe the number of unemployed people filing for claims could be much higher, because a lot of applicants faced difficulties in filing. The number of job losses in America this time are more than that during the recession in 2008.
Sotheby’s decides to furlough employees and announces pay cuts across offices
Sotheby’s, one of the world's largest fine art and decorative art brokers has decided to furlough 200 employees. All employees in the U.S who have not been furloughed are due to receive a 20% pay cut until June 1st. Overtime pay has also been suspended until further notice.
Due to the pandemic the company has also cancelled most of its auctions and is planning to expand online services. Up until now, Sotheby’s has closed 10 of its salerooms and shut close to 80 offices globally. Despite the turmoil the company's leadership is trying its best to manage a lot of services, and continue engaging with clients.
Dilema for aerospace supplier over job cuts due to COVID-19
Aerospace suppliers are facing a huge dilemma over whether to let go of their employees or not. Eric Fanning, chief executive of the U.S. Aerospace Industries Association, said that their workforce is their crown jewel. Aerospace and the defense have a critical problem finding the right workers for all the jobs that they have.
But with airlines not flying, no new orders are coming in, and no planes are getting serviced, leaving engineers without work. This has put the aerospace industry in a turmoil, because only when planes are flying can there be work for engineers. Till then the industry has to keep its fingers crossed and hope things get up and running soon.
Huge surge in claims for unemployment benefits in Kansas
The Kansas Department of Labor has seen a huge surge in unemployment claims. Last week, more than 60,000 people filed for benefits. 18,000 claims were filed from Sedgwick county. The department is also seeing a huge number of calls pertaining to benefits and other important aspects related to claims. To tackle this, the department is hiring more people.
According to data from the state labor department, the most number of unemployment claims come from the manufacturing and food service vertical. Several other states across the country are also facing a surge in unemployment applications.
4,000 startup employees lost their jobs in March
Startups across America got rid of close to 4,000 employees in March. People employed in sectors such as transportation, hospitality, and artificial intelligence lost their jobs. The startups that laid-off employees are primarily located in Austin, Portland, Boston, and California.
A lot of companies have also decided to furlough employees or put them on standby. The job cuts across several startups show what a devastating impact COVID-19 has caused across the country. Due to the tremendous job losses, more than 3 million Americans filed for unemployment claims in the last two weeks. It is going to take a while for the economy to get up and running once again. Until then everyone should stay calm and be healthy.
44,000 jobs could be lost in Houston due to COVID-19
The coronavirus could destroy 44,000 jobs in Houston according to Bill Gilmer, Director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston's Bauer College of Business. The total number of workers in the Houston metro area is 3.2 million. Bill Gilmer also believes that the figures will look much worse in the second and third quarters of this year.
According to a study by Smart Assets, 24.6% of the city's workforce could be in trouble due to the pandemic. Though experts believe that not all hope is lost. Once the social distancing norms ease, the unemployment rate will drop once again.
New York unemployment office hires 700 employees
The unemployment office of the New York State Department has added 700 more employees to the staff to help it cope better with the surge of unemployment applications. In spite of this, laid-off employees are facing issues in filing for assistance.
The Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo said “The site is so deluged that it keeps crashing, because you literally have hundreds of thousands of people at any time trying to get on the site.” These are tough times for the state as it has the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the country and the number of unemployed people is only increasing. The Governor also apologized for the pain people are going through.
Rent the Runway clothing rental service lays off workers
This New York-based company valued at about $1 billion dollars last year has decided to lay off its workers. The move comes after it had to temporarily shut down its stores. The company has not disclosed how many employees will be laid off.
Rent The Runway is trying its very best to ensure that employees receive their severance pay, and their health insurance coverage continues for two months. All employees that were laid off also received an email on how to apply for unemployment benefits. The company is not sure about how long they will be impacted by COVID-19.
New programs announced to help unemployed in Michigan
Gretchen Whitmer, the Governor of Michigan recently announced new programs for all those who are unemployed due to COVID-19. An agreement was signed between the Department of Labor and Michigan, to implement Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that provides benefits to unemployed people who don’t qualify for UI in the state.
Unemployed people who are eligible for this program are self-employed, independent contractors, and gig workers. The state will also provide weekly benefits of $600 per week for a period of four months to all claimants. Weekly payments have also been extended from 26 weeks to 39 weeks in the state.
Macy’s to furlough most of its employees due to COVID-19
Due to the coronavirus Macy’s has decided to furlough employees beginning this week. Macy’s employs 130,000 across the United States. They did not disclose how many employees will be furloughed, but stated that only the bare minimum of employees will be asked to stay on.
All employees who have been furloughed will continue receiving health benefits which cover 100% premium till May. All hiring has been put on hold for the time being and only the minimum required workforce will continue to work. As the situation improves employees will be brought back on a staggered basis. Macy’s stores were closed on March 18, 2020.
Georgia theatre and film workers lose jobs
51,000 people are employed in the creative industry in Georgia. 479 theatre employees lost their job within the last two weeks.This is a great time of uncertainty for all theatre and film workers as production has stopped across the state.
These industries came to a halt on March 13, and since then the lay-offs are only getting worse. The workers who lost jobs are not even sure if their unemployment applications will be processed quickly due to the high demand of applications. The state unemployment office is doing its best to process claims as soon as possible.
Huge rise in unemployment benefits applications in California
There has been a huge increase in people filing for unemployment benefits in California. According to the California Employment Development Department (EDD) 186,809 unemployment claims were filed in the third week of March. This is a significant jump as only 57,606 claims were filed in the previous week.
The EDD is processing claims round the clock and doing its best to make sure everyone who filed receives UI. The department is trying to increase staff from across the department and state government to help process claims as fast as possible. EDD is also trying to rehire retirees who can process claims.
Many more jobs will be lost as the Pandemic spreads
Analysts suggest that April will see job losses between 4m and 6m. The unemployment rate in the country will increase. The rate in the last few months was at a historic low, as the economy was running smoothly. But due to the pandemic, it has all taken a big hit.
The only way unemployed people can get jobs is if the economy picks up. It will only get better if the number of COVID-19 cases decline and the fatality rate decreases. The government is doing it’s best to protect its citizens and get the economy up and running once again.
States not ready for the record unemployment claims filed
California, New York, and Texas are the states that have the worst levels of unemployment trust funds in the country. These states will not be eligible for the interest- free government loans which cover unemployment benefits. According to the Department of Labor, 22 states across the country do not have the requisite trust reserves.
Last week saw 600,000 more unemployment claims than expected. All the states will need to gear up and prepare themselves for the rising number of claims across the country. Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, and Texas saw the highest number of unemployment claims last week.
North Carolina will provide extra help for unemployment insurance claimants
North Carolina will provide additional help for anyone seeking unemployment insurance in the State. The State believes that claimants will have a lot of questions regarding unemployment insurance benefits as a result of the CARES Act being passed.
Currently, the State is waiting for orders from the Department of Labor to implement certain changes for UI claimants. One of the main changes is an additional $600 that will be paid weekly for the next four months. All the payments are set to go out once the State receives guidance from the Department of Labor.
Bank of America assures no job losses to employees
The CEO of Bank of America, Brian Moynihan said that employees in the company need not worry about lay-offs this year. He added that he does not want his employees to worry about their job security at a time like this. Morgan Stanley and Citigroup have also followed suit.
Many banks such as Bank of America, JP Morgan, and Citigroup will also provide additional compensation to low-paid employees. This will keep up their morale and make sure their performance remains up to the mark. This is a good move by these banks in such difficult times.
Highest Number of Unemployment Claims Filed Last Week
In a historic first, the largest number of unemployed persons filed for unemployment claims last week, numbering 3.3 million Americans. It is an increase of around 3 million since March 14 which saw 282,000 people file for claims. The previous record for the largest number of unemployment claims was in 1982 when the total claims were 695,000.
Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Texas and New Jersey saw the biggest share of unemployment claims last week. As the COVID-19 crisis continues across the country, the extended unemployment benefits package that was announced recently should provide some relief.
GM To Cut Employees Salaries
General Motors (GM) has recently announced that it will cut employee’s salaries in a bid to deal with the ongoing pandemic. The company has come up with a “Salaried Downtime Paid Absence Policy” (SDPA) which will give employees 75% of their pay. Employees who do not fall under the SDPA policy will receive a 20% pay deferment.
The Company introduced the SDPA policy because the majority of employees are in manufacturing or engineering roles and cannot work from home. This comes at a time when a lot of other automobile manufacturers have shut down their plants.
Huge Job Cuts Leave Millions Without Health Insurance
Due to the mass layoffs across the country, many people will lose their health insurance. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, half of America’s working-class receive insurance from their employer. But not all is lost, a program called “Cobra” allows employees to continue to buy the insurance they had through their past employer. However, this comes at a much higher cost.
The Center For Medicare and The Affordable Care Act attempt to provide assistance at this time. It is quite a worrying situation because of the spread of the virus and the increasing number of deaths across the country. This is not a good time to lose health insurance, though hope should not be lost.
Mass Unemployment Across The Country Worries The Working Class
The continuous spread of the coronavirus has led to huge disruptions of businesses across the country. Several businesses, like restaurants, retail stores, supermarkets, gyms, etc. deemed non-essential are shut due to the pandemic. This has led to mass unemployment for millions of citizens. The nation is facing an economic slowdown after many years of good growth and this has a lot of employees worried.
With things only getting worse, it will take time for the economy to get up and running again. Till then, unemployed people should not lose hope and continue filing for their benefits. Most of the states across the country are also offering “Extended Benefits” packages over the regular unemployment benefits.
Due To The Dwindling Economy Senate Passes Historic Deal
To help get things back to normal the white house and senate leaders struck a $2 trillion stimulus package. Out of the $2 trillion, $250 billion dollars will be given to individuals that require unemployment benefits. To improve the situation for unemployed individuals, the Federal Government has also decided to provide an extra $600 a week for four months on top of their benefits.
This amount will help boost unemployment insurance since a lot of state unemployment offices are struggling to pay benefits. Due to the massive job loss across the country, individuals require a lot of time to get back on their feet, and unemployment benefits are the only answer.
State Servers Have Crashed Due to Drastic Surge for Unemployment Claims
Arizona, Colorado, and Ohio Offical state unemployment benefit Sites have seen an unprecedented rise in claims. Arizona saw nearly 30,000 people file for unemployment claims last week, which is eight times more than the previous week. This caused their official site to crash and many people were not able to file claims for a particular time period.
The Colorado Department of Labor saw 6,800 people trying to file for claims yesterday. This affected the site severely causing the site to crash. Another state badly affected was Ohio seeing 78,000 people file for claims in the first three days of the week. The week prior to this saw just 6,800 people file for benefits.
Gig Workers Are Eligible To Qualify For UI
Uber, Lyft and other freelance workers will be eligible for unemployment insurance for the first time ever. They are also eligible for extra benefits for up to four months. However, it is not clear as yet how many monthly benefits they will get. Though they are entitled to weekly benefits if laid off by a full-time employer.
The maximum weekly benefits amount varies from state to state. Freelance workers should check their weekly benefit amount so that they are clear on how much they are entitled to. This is a good move by the government as the number of unemployed is only increasing across the country.
Oregon Unemployment Rules Eased
The state of Oregon has decided to provide more flexibility to individuals who lost their job due to COVID-19. All workers who are laid off due to the pandemic need not look for work with other employers. To continue receiving benefits workers must stay in touch with their employers and be able to work.
To file unemployment claims applicants must log in to the official site of the state. The department will continue to provide job training resources in these times. All unemployed people should not worry as this time will also pass, and you will be back on your feet before you know it.