Server Timi Sanchez waits on customers at Hennessey’s Tavern as restaurants are opening for business on sidewalks as restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are eased in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., May 15, 2020. REUTERS/David Becker

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Despite experiencing the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, employers are struggling to hire candidates. Although initially designed to enable employees to limit their exposure to the coronavirus and take care of children at home, those on unemployment insurance now receive an extra $600 a week. Industries are finding that potential employees earn more on unemployment than employers can afford to pay. In some industries, the weekly earnings of an unemployed hourly worker jumped 186% under the expanded unemployment. 

As workers balance the safety of returning to work, they must choose between potentially losing benefits or losing their jobs. Many low-wage workers across different industries are black, which could increase the exposure of vulnerable populations. Although the additional benefits are set to expire in late July, these factors could slow economic recovery.

Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia predicts nationwide unemployment could drop to 10% by the end of this year. Legislators are already discussing continuing the expanded benefits in the next round of coronavirus bills. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

How businesses and workers can keep PPP loan forgiveness and unemployment benefits – CNBC – 5/28/2020
Specifically, work-sharing programs offer a way for business owners to recall employees to satisfy Paycheck Protection Program rules without jeopardizing expanded unemployment benefits, according to labor experts. Some workers even stand to get higher pay.

New problem for day care: Getting teachers to take pay cut from unemployment – Houma Today – 5/28/2020
State officials said Tuesday day care centers already reeling because of the coronavirus pandemic face a new challenge: How to lure teachers who make an average of $8.95 per hour to return to the classroom, and give up unemployment benefits that have more than doubled their pay.

Congress weighs choice: ‘Go big’ on virus aid or hit ‘pause’ – PBS NewsHour – 5/26/2020
It’s a defining moment for the political parties heading toward the election and one that will affect the livelihoods of countless Americans suddenly dependent on the federal government.

Huge Unemployment Fraud in Washington State Sends a Warning – Courthouse News – 5/28/2020
Washington’s race to help newly laid-off residents as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the economy left it vulnerable to such scams, and last week officials described the scope of the damage done: hundreds of millions of dollars paid out in fake claims. Much of it apparently went to a West African fraud ring using identities stolen in previous data breaches, such as the massive 2017 Equifax breach.

Why the US unemployment rate is so much higher than Germany’s – Quartz – 5/28/2020
As the recession subsides, economists will start to find clues as to which government policies, if any, have best shielded a country’s businesses and workers. For now, the suffering is widespread.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Bloomberg Markets  on Twitter, 5/28/2020: U.S. states’ jobless rolls shrank for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic in a sign people are starting to return to work, even as millions more Americans filed for unemployment benefits https://t.co/M7Be1Dkl1b

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. on Twitter, 5/28/2020: Republicans & Dems came together to provide unemployment assistance for those who lost their jobs due to #COVID19. With economies reopening, people can return to work. But paying people more to stay home than to resume working is not a recipe for success. https://t.co/keepl5sYlM

Marketplace on Twitter, 5/28/2020: As weekly jobless claims continue to climb, unemployment systems are still processing a backlog. https://t.co/0n7LnAq2YF

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