The number of Americans on food stamps is expected to rise by 2.3 million in 2018, as unemployment rates continue to remain high and the labor market remains sluggish.
The unemployment news is a recent article that discusses the unemployment cliff looming as 9.1 million Americans are set to lose aid by Labor Day.
Pamela Mohar made preparations for the end of her pandemic unemployment benefits: Her final check arrived in early September, and she and her boyfriend had already paid their expenses for the rest of the month. She has no idea what’s going to happen next.
“Once that final check arrives, it’ll be terrible not knowing where the next check will come from,” Mohar, 37, who earned a master’s degree in creative writing from Eastern Michigan University in April, told CBS MoneyWatch.
Mohar, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, said she has been searching for employment since last autumn, when she worked as a graduate assistant, but has had no success so far. She worked in retail and as a bartender before returning to school, which she highlighted while looking for employment. However, she believes that companies are hesitant to recruit someone who they believe will leave if a better opportunity arises.
Mohar has juggled part-time jobs but still qualifies for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a new program established by legislators in 2020 to give unemployment assistance to employees who would otherwise be ineligible for benefits, such as gig workers and part-time workers. When PUA expires, such employees will no longer be eligible for normal unemployment benefits.
Pamela Mohar, a Michigan resident, said the loss of increased pandemic assistance benefits in September would be “devastating.” Pamela Mohar is a well-known actress.
PUA is one of many pandemic unemployment programs that will expire on September 6th, which is also Labor Day. According to the left-leaning Century Foundation, this will cut off assistance for 9.1 million jobless people.
According to Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at the Century Foundation, this benefits “cliff” would disproportionately harm workers of color and women with children, with the latter more likely than males to cut down employment during the epidemic due to a shortage of child care and distant education.
“There has been virtually no debate about any meaningful measures to prevent or alter this,” Stettner said, “and the magnitude, like so many things in the epidemic, is a lot larger than in the past.” “It’s almost as if it wasn’t supposed to happen.”
There doesn’t seem to be much hope in sight. Officials in all 50 states were contacted by CBS News to check whether the increased $300 benefits or other pandemic unemployment programs would be extended, but the overwhelming majority indicated they will revert to pre-pandemic unemployment benefit levels beginning next week.
Reform is being demanded.
Even as coronavirus cases related to the Delta variety rise, the Biden administration announced earlier this month that the pandemic unemployment programs would expire on September 6 as planned. There are no plans to review the termination of supplemental unemployment benefits, according to a White House spokesman on Friday.
“We have strong momentum going in the right direction on behalf of the American workforce,” said Jared Bernstein, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. “Twenty-two trillion-dollar economies work in no small part on momentum, and we have strong momentum going in the right direction on behalf of the American workforce.”
Job growth slowed significantly in August as COVID-19 infections surged, indicating that the Delta variety is sapping some of that impetus. Morgan Stanley, the investment firm, forecasted that the economy would expand at a 2.9 percent annual rate in the third quarter, down significantly from its previous prediction of 6.5 percent. The drop is mostly due to a reduction in government assistance expenditures and supply chain delays.
Despite this, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh are calling for changes, citing the epidemic as exposing “severe flaws” with the country’s jobless system.
According to Jenna Gerry, senior staff attorney at the National Employment Labor Project, any changes are unlikely to arrive in time to assist the millions of families who may lose unemployment benefits early next month.
“On September 6, we will witness this cliff approaching, and people will be left without supports for a long period,” she said. “What we need is long-term change, and we need it now — we can’t keep relying on these band-aid solutions.”
Some experts advocate for altering unemployment benefits such that when the unemployment rate rises and stays high or is higher for particular groups, such as Black employees, additional benefits are automatically triggered. The unemployment rate in the United States was 5.2 percent in August, down from 14.8 percent in April 2020, but still higher than the pre-pandemic average of 3.5 percent.
Of August, hiring throughout the country slowed significantly as a spike in COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variation slowed the recovery, increasing worries about economic headwinds. Last month, employers created 235,000 jobs, far below the forecasted 700,000 positions.
Unemployment benefits should be extended until the epidemic is finished, according to advocates for the jobless.
In a statement, Stephanie Freed, executive director of ExtendPUA.org, stated, “The end of the pandemic for workers will be recognized by the recovery of all pre-pandemic jobs (we are currently missing 5.7 million jobs from February 2020) AND an unemployment rate similar to February 2020.”
As a result of the epidemic, families are struggling to pay their expenses… 02:05
“Knife in the chest,” says the narrator.
Providing assistance to parents whose children attended distant schools was one of the government’s interim fixes to the unemployment system, a problem that affected millions of families who were forced to balance remote schooling with job.
According to the National Women’s Law Center, over 1.8 million women have dropped out of the work force since the onset of the public health crisis, bringing the women’s labor participation rate to its lowest level since 1988.
Alicia O’Brien, a San Francisco construction worker, is one of them. She claimed she lost her job early in the epidemic but stayed unemployed to assist her three children, all under the age of 12, with distance schooling. She kept kids home even when the schools returned to in-person teaching since two of them have asthma and can’t receive the COVID-19 vaccination yet.
She claimed she has to return to work now that her unemployment has ended so she and her fiancé can pay their expenses. However, she is concerned about the health of her children and if she will be able to continue working if their school is closed due to the current viral epidemic.
“The end of unemployment is a dagger in the chest,” O’Brien remarked. “I don’t have a choice; it’s ‘Get back to work.’”
According to her, the federal government should prolong unemployment benefits until children under the age of 12 are able to get the COVID-19 vaccination.
“I’m extremely upset,” O’Brien expressed his dissatisfaction. “The amount of energy, time, and life changes that every parent has gone through as a result of quitting their employment, staying at home with their children 24/7, not becoming teachers, attempting distance learning, and assisting instructors who are attempting to help their kid. Why not extend the period of unemployment a bit longer?”
Benefit reductions may have a negative impact on consumer spending.
More than half of the states in the United States have already reduced pandemic unemployment assistance, indicating what may be in store for the remainder of the country. Twenty-five of the 26 states that began reducing benefits in June are headed by Republican governors, who claimed that the increased payouts were keeping employees off the job.
For the time being, the outcomes of turning off such assistance do not support such fears. According to one research, rather than boosting employment, the first 12 states that reduced assistance saw job growth on par with those that kept help.
According to economists at Columbia University, Harvard, and other institutions, just 1 in 8 unemployed people had found jobs by the beginning of August in 22 states that reduced unemployment assistance in June. While this is a small increase, there was a downside: the loss of unemployment assistance caused a $2 billion drop in consumer expenditure in those areas.
According to the analysts, the September 6 decrease would likely have a fourfold effect on consumer expenditure, with a drop of $8 billion in September and October.
The loss of unemployment aid, which is currently flowing to millions of households, could stymie the economic recovery, according to Stettner of the Century Foundation, who estimates that the expiration will result in a loss of $5 billion in aid that is currently flowing to unemployed workers each week.
On the employment market, the end of benefits… 03:44
“You’re pulling money out of the economy,” he said. “From what we’ve observed so far, additional variables, such as the Delta variation and poor immunization rates in certain areas, are affecting job searching.”
As COVID-19 rates rise, more individuals are expressing apprehension about returning to work. According to Census Bureau statistics, over 3.2 million individuals indicated they weren’t working in early August because they were worried about acquiring COVID-19 or spreading it, up 30% from late July.
Mohar earns approximately $1,100 every two weeks after including her unemployment benefits, more than she did as a graduate assistant, and she credits the financial support with allowing her and her boyfriend to relocate out of substandard accommodation and pay their expenses.
Despite this, they had to utilize money saved to purchase a home in order to remain afloat. She recently got a call back for a job application, and she’s hoping to find anything before October. “It’s really tough every day to wake up not knowing whether you’ll be able to pay your expenses or what will happen,” Mohar added.
This article was written with the help of the Associated Press.
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