COVID-19

Even high schoolers are feeling economic uncertainty

Andie Corban May 4, 2020
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Vivienne Dragun, a student in Midland, Texas. "This is one of the biggest years of my life," she said. Courtesy of Vivienne Dragun
COVID-19

Even high schoolers are feeling economic uncertainty

Andie Corban May 4, 2020
Vivienne Dragun, a student in Midland, Texas. "This is one of the biggest years of my life," she said. Courtesy of Vivienne Dragun
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Vivienne Dragun, 18, is a high school senior in Midland, Texas. Even while social distancing and staying home, Dragun can feel a sense of anxiety in her hometown, where the economy is based almost entirely on oil.

“In 2008-2009, there was an oil bust here,” Dragun said. “I was only about 7 years old, but I remember how empty the town was and how there was very little traffic. I think that everyone here remembers the bust, and we’re all worried that it’s gonna happen again.”

Dragun is facing uncertainty in her personal life too.

“This is one of the biggest years of my life,” Dragun said. “I’m graduating high school, I’m moving out for college and I’m being an independent adult for the first time ever. Coronavirus is making me unsure if I’m going to do any of those things in 2020.”

Dragun planned on spending this summer saving money for college by working as a lifeguard in Midland. Her earnings were meant to cover things like going out with friends or buying new clothes.

“I’m a little unsure if I’ll actually have my job this summer,” Dragun said. “It would mean I have to either get a job at school or count on working next summer because this summer is going to be, hopefully, a big time for me to make a lot of the money I’m going to need in college.”

This series only works with your help. Let us know how your economy is doing using the form below, and your story may be featured on a future edition of “My Economy.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Which businesses are allowed to reopen right now? And which businesses are actually doing so?

As a patchwork of states start to reopen, businesses that fall into a gray area are wondering when they can reopen. In many places, salons are still shuttered. Bars are mostly closed, too, although restaurants may be allowed to ramp up, depending on the state. “It’s kind of all over the place,” said Elizabeth Milito of the National Federation of Independent Business.

Will you be able to go on vacation this summer?

There’s no chance that this summer will be a normal season for vacations either in the U.S. or internationally. But that doesn’t mean a trip will be impossible. People will just have to be smart about it. That could mean vacations closer to home, especially with gas prices so low. Air travel will be possible this summer, even if it is a very different experience than usual.

When does the expanded COVID-19 unemployment insurance run out?

The CARES Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in March, authorized extra unemployment payments, increasing the amount of money, and broadening who qualifies. The increased unemployment benefits have an expiration date — an extra $600 per week the act authorized ends on July 31.

You can find answers to more questions here.

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