COVID-19

With latest wave of COVID-19 layoffs, 2.4 million more Americans file for unemployment

Associated Press May 21, 2020
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Roughly 38.6 million people have now filed for jobless aid since the coronavirus forced millions of businesses to close their doors. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

With latest wave of COVID-19 layoffs, 2.4 million more Americans file for unemployment

Associated Press May 21, 2020
Roughly 38.6 million people have now filed for jobless aid since the coronavirus forced millions of businesses to close their doors. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

More than 2.4 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week in the latest wave of layoffs from the viral outbreak that triggered widespread business shutdowns two months ago and sent the economy into a deep recession.

Roughly 38.6 million people have now filed for jobless aid since the coronavirus forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink their workforces, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Another 2.2 million people sought aid under a new federal program for self-employed, contractor and gig workers, who are now eligible for jobless aid for the first time.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

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.

Which states are reopening?

Many states have started to relax the restrictions put in place in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Although social-distancing measures still hold virtually everywhere in the country, more than half of states have started to phase out stay-at-home orders and phase in business reopenings. Others, like New York, are on slower timelines.

Is it worth applying for a job right now?

It never hurts to look, but as unemployment reaches levels last seen during the Great Depression and most available jobs are in places that carry risks like the supermarket or warehouses, it isn’t a bad idea to sit tight either, if you can.

You can find answers to more questions here.

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