COVID-19

For the gig economy, emergency aid will be crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic

Kai Ryssdal and Krissy Clark Mar 26, 2020
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Scott Olson/Getty Images
COVID-19

For the gig economy, emergency aid will be crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic

Kai Ryssdal and Krissy Clark Mar 26, 2020
Scott Olson/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

As Congress finalizes the largest economic stimulus package in U.S. history, aid will be extended to an often neglected segment of the labor force.

The package includes $2 trillion dollars in cash payments for many individuals and families, business loans and extended unemployment benefits. And for the first time, gig and freelance workers will qualify for those unemployment checks.

“Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Krissy Clark, host of our documentary podcast The Uncertain Hour, about how the alternative workforce is faring in the COVID-19 recession.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

With a slow vaccine rollout so far, how has the government changed its approach?

On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced changes to how the federal government is distributing vaccine doses. The CDC has expanded coronavirus vaccine eligibility to everyone 65 and older, along with people with conditions that might raise their risks of complications from COVID-19. The new approach also looks to reward those states that are the most efficient by giving them more doses, but critics say that won’t address underlying problems some states are having with vaccine rollout.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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