March 2, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic caused millions of people to lose their jobs last year and file for unemployment benefits, which were expanded several times through federal legislation. Now, many Americans are discovering that they owe taxes on these payments that were vital for them to make ends meet. For example, Erika Rose of Los Angeles has been on unemployment insurance since the start of the pandemic and has spent the winter stretching every penny to pay rent and utilities. When she Continue reading

Continue reading...

January 12, 2021

According to the Labor Department, the U.S. economy lost 140,000 jobs in December 2020 as businesses across the country continue to struggle during the pandemic. While restaurants and bars have been hit especially hard since winter weather has shut down outdoor dining, states have also laid off thousands of teachers and other public workers. All told, 9.8 million fewer Americans are working now than at this time last year.

And as long as the pandemic persists, it will be difficult Continue reading

Continue reading...

October 22, 2020

Last week, another 787,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits. This represents a drop from the stretch of months where more than 1 million people filed for unemployment week after week, but it nevertheless reflects a deeply strained economy. “The ranks of people applying for extended unemployment are starting to make it look like a traditional recession,” said economist Diane Swonk. “This leaves scars in the labor force, is demoralizing, and increases health risks for workers…We’re not calling people back Continue reading

Continue reading...

August 27, 2020

For nearly every week since March, millions of Americans have filed for unemployment benefits as the economy continues to struggle with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. And last week was no exception: once again more than 1 million people filed for unemployment for the first time. All together, more than 27 million people applied for benefits as the jobless rate hovers around the 10 percent mark. 

“It’s massively concerning that five months into this crisis we are still Continue reading

Continue reading...

August 4, 2020

From April to June 2020, the U.S. GDP plummeted at an annual rate of 32.9 percent, the worst drop on record. As businesses closed across the country due to the pandemic, the U.S. fell into a recession that wiped out the economic gains of the last five years in just a few months. This data released last week by the Commerce Department “just highlights how deep and dark the hole is that the economy cratered into in Q2,” said economist Continue reading

Continue reading...

July 16, 2020

Nearly four months into the pandemic, millions of Americans are struggling to remain employed. Last week more than 1.5 million people filed for unemployment benefits for the first time, an increase of almost 109,000 from the previous week. The total number of unemployment claims stood at 17.3 million for the week ending in July 4th, with many people also collecting expanded benefits that could soon expire. 

“What we’re seeing is continued, historic elevated rates of job loss in the Continue reading

Continue reading...

June 30, 2020

According to experts, the coronavirus pandemic has deepened economic inequality and expanded the racial wealth gap across the U.S. While the unemployment rate for white workers sits at 12.4 percent, the rate among black and Hispanic workers has gone up to 16.8% and 17.6% respectively. But while many poor Americans struggle to make ends meet, the wealth of the nation’s 614 billionaires has increased by $584 billion.

These top-end earners make most of their money on the stock market, which Continue reading

Continue reading...

June 26, 2020

For the 14th week in a row, more than 1 million people filed for unemployment benefits as fallout from the pandemic continues to hurt workers across the nation. The last three weeks have each seen the number of newly unemployed Americans hover around the 1.5 million mark, an ominous sign that economic recovery could still be a long time coming. 

Although some people have returned to work as states reopen, the rising number of coronavirus cases threatens to once Continue reading

Continue reading...

June 11, 2020

Tens of millions of Americans have filed for unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic. This historically high number increased by another 1.5 million last week as many people continue to struggle to make ends meet. Although the gradual reopening of businesses has sent some back to work, nearly 21 million Americans are still receiving unemployment benefits. All together, more than 44 million people have applied for unemployment over the course of the pandemic. 

“That means 29 percent of the workforce Continue reading

Continue reading...

With tens of millions of Americans currently out of work, the U.S. is experiencing an unemployment crisis on a scale not seen since the height of the Great Depression. This video looks at the devastating effects of rising joblessness while also explaining how several European governments intervened to avoid disastrous unemployment rates. 

Questions:

  1. Why is the U.S. unemployment insurance system not equipped to face the current crisis?
  2. Do you think the U.S. should take a more active role in Continue reading
Continue reading...