COVID-19 infections and end to enhanced benefits to make a bad situation worse
San José, CA – On Thursday, July 9, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the broadest measure of people on unemployment continued to climb. In the week ending June 20, the total number was 32.9 million, up by 1.4 million from a week earlier. This number includes those who are receiving the regular state unemployment insurance benefits, the growing number getting the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA, the Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation or PEUC, and other smaller programs.
San José, CA – In six weeks, tens of millions of unemployed people face the end of the additional $600 a week in unemployment insurance benefits. This additional benefit that helps low income workers the most is set to expire due to its being opposed by the Republican-controlled Senate. These same workers were hardest hit by the pandemic recession, and many face the prospect of their jobs not coming back. This is just another example of how the economic relief has helped large corporations, which can aided by the Federal Reserve, while low-income workers are subject to punishment by republicans who see the aid as discouraging people from returning to work.
San José, CA – On Thursday, June 11, reality finally caught up with Wall Street. For weeks there was a huge gap between the economy, where millions upon millions of people had lost their jobs and livelihood, and the soaring stock market which had turned positive for the year. But today reality seems to have sunk in, sending the headline Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 1800 points, or almost 7%. The broad S&P 500 index fell almost 6%, and the technology-heavy NASDAQ fell more than 5%. Stock market from Asia to Europe also fell.
San José, CA – Corporate-owned media is blaring that the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell in May to 13.3%, from 14.7% in April. This was far better than even the most optimistic economist expected and even led to at least one to declare that “the recession is over.” Well, when something is too good to be true, it usually isn’t true.
Initial wave of layoffs ebbs even as new job cuts grow
San José, CA – On Thursday, May 28, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that there were 2.1 million new claims for state unemployment insurance in the previous week ending May 23. This was down from 2.4 million new claims the week before, showing that the wave of layoffs from the pandemic and efforts to control it is going down. At the same time this is still more than ten times the pre-recession level and brings the total number of new applications to 40 million in the last ten weeks.
Nevada, Michigan and Hawai’i see unemployment rates above 20% in April
San José, CA – On Friday, May 22, the monthly report on state-level labor markets saw the – unemployment rate for three states – Nevada, Michigan and Hawai’i – all soar to more than 20%, levels unseen since the worst of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Actual job losses, reported by business, came to almost 20% between March and April in Vermont and New York, along with Hawai’i.