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US Commentary: A fight over unemployment benefits is brewing as businesses reopen. Here's what you need to know

09:26  29 may  2020
09:26  29 may  2020 Source:   latimes.com

How Long Should We Keep Bribing People Not to Work?

  How Long Should We Keep Bribing People Not to Work? A $600 boost to unemployment benefits was a clumsy solution to a stupid problem, and it cannot continue once we reopen.Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Here ' s what you need to know . Jon Healey. Los Angeles Times Opinion May 22, 2020. A complaint circulating among business owners is that they' re having trouble restarting because the workers In California's view, such workers are still eligible for unemployment benefits because they haven't

Opinion: A fight over unemployment benefits is brewing as businesses reopen . Here ' s what you need to know . Los Angeles Times Opinion. 'This is life or death': Workers at Amazon, Target, Instacart hold nationwide strike on International Workers Day.

a person talking on a cell phone screen with text: Estella Flores, right, and Maria Mora, left, are reflected in a window as they look for information in front of the closed California State Employment Development Department on Thursday, May 14, 2020 in Canoga Park, Calif. © Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/TNS Estella Flores, right, and Maria Mora, left, are reflected in a window as they look for information in front of the closed California State Employment Development Department on Thursday, May 14, 2020 in Canoga Park, Calif.

Editor's note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

A complaint circulating among business owners is that they’re having trouble restarting because the workers they laid off during the pandemic aren’t willing to come off of unemployment.

USA: Still more than 2 million new registered unemployed

 USA: Still more than 2 million new registered unemployed USA-UNEMPLOYMENT-REGISTRATIONS: USA: Still more than 2 million new registered unemployed © Reuters / Nick Oxford USA: STILL MORE THAN 2 MILLION NEW REGISTERED UNEMPLOYMENT WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Weekly jobless claims in the United States fell last week but remain at an extremely high level, disruption from the new coronavirus triggering a second wave of layoffs.

Unemployment benefits are becoming a financial lifeline for millions of Americans after their employers shut their doors to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Roughly 2.1 million people applied for U. S . unemployment benefits last week, a sign companies are still slashing jobs in the face of a deep recession even as more businesses reopen and rehire some laid-off employees. Here are some of AP’ s top stories Thursday on the world’ s coronavirus pandemic.

The blame, they say, lies with the $2.2-trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act that Congress passed in late March, which increased unemployment benefits by $600 per week until July 31 (a date that once seemed like a reasonable approximation of the end of the crisis — sigh). The equivalent of an extra $15 per hour, the extra money has made it more lucrative for low-wage workers to be on the dole than on the job.

Many Republican lawmakers and President Donald Trump are certainly persuaded; Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), an often reliable weathervane for GOP pique, said the extra benefit would be extended “over our dead bodies.” (The Hill noted Friday, however, that the sentiment is not unanimous among Graham’s colleagues.) Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said flatly that unemployed workers would lose their benefits if they refused to be rehired.

State unemployment office has doubled call center staff taking jobless claims, but complaints continue

  State unemployment office has doubled call center staff taking jobless claims, but complaints continue With the release Thursday of weekly jobless claims from the U.S. Department of Labor, Illinois hit a milestone: Since mid-March, when the state’s stay-at-home order took effect, closing nonessential businesses and sending people home, more than 1 million residents of the state have applied for unemployment insurance benefits. The state office that processes those applications says it has doubled the number of workers in call centers that assist those seeking jobless benefits. Yet on social media and in calls to their elected representatives, applicants continue to complain about busy signals and other problems.

First-time claims for unemployment benefits were expected to total 2.05 million last week, according to economists surveyed by Dow Jones. Here ' s what you need to know Businesses are reopening as the nation thaws from the economic freeze imposed by the coronavirus.

As Businesses Reopen , A Fight Is Brewing Over Worker Safety Lawsuits. And employers want to know they won't be sued if workers get sick. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says liability protection for employers must be included in the next round of pandemic relief legislation.

It’s undeniable that the federal bonus gives minimum-wage workers in every state more than they made before they were laid off. In fact, in all but a dozen high-wage states (including California), the bonus raises unemployment benefits high enough to equal or exceed the average worker’s pay. Meanwhile, studies show that the pandemic-related job losses have been concentrated in low-paying service and retail industries.

At this point, there doesn’t appear to be any way to quantify how large a problem this is for employers who are trying to rehire. All we have are anecdotes, albeit plenty of them, making it easy to get mad at the supposed goldbrickers undermining small businesses and holding back our economy.

But there’s also plenty of misinformation that needs to be dispelled, and anger that’s misdirected.

For starters, states don’t allow laid-off workers to just keep collecting unemployment benefits after their employer asks them to come back. There must be special circumstances for them to refuse a job offer and retain unemployment benefits. So to the extent that laid-off workers are holding out and preventing their employers from restarting, it’s either because the mechanisms for enforcing that requirement aren’t working or because special circumstances are the problem.

'Hundreds of millions' in bogus jobless benefits paid out to imposters

  'Hundreds of millions' in bogus jobless benefits paid out to imposters Washington officials said the state is working with federal law enforcement, financial institutions and the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate the fraud and try to recover the money.Commissioner Suzi LeVine said the state is working with federal law enforcement, financial institutions and the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate the fraud and try to recover the money paid out during the huge spike in joblessness during the coronavirus crisis.

But inside this report we ’ re looking at four key areas that investors should monitor to get a fuller sense of how the labor market performed in November. Opinion: A fight over unemployment benefits is brewing as businesses reopen . Here ' s what you need to know . Los Angeles Times Opinion.

Here ’ s How to Interpret Them. Government figures due Friday will undoubtedly show that job It’s no surprise that employers have cut millions of jobs; weekly data on filings for unemployment “There’s not one number about the labor market that ’s going to tell you everything you want to know ,” said

Related video: COVID-19 shutdown has left millions of nightlife workers unemployed (provided by ABC News)

And regardless of what Mnuchin says, the federal government can’t flick a switch on unemployment benefit eligibility. According to Glenn Spencer, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s employment policy division, the Department of Labor signs off on state unemployment insurance plans once a year to make sure they are in compliance with federal law. Then it’s up to states to implement and enforce them.

Mnuchin appears to believe the problem is in enforcement. He has called for businesses that receive forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans to alert state unemployment agencies about laid-off workers who won’t come back to their jobs. The underlying assumption seems to be that the country is rife with people willing to commit unemployment insurance fraud.

Almost all shops in England will be allowed to reopen June 15

  Almost all shops in England will be allowed to reopen June 15 The U.K. will begin to allow shops and other businesses to reopen in the coming weeks, ending the stay-at-home orders that have been in place for weeks in the country hardest hit by the coronavirus in Europe.Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during an address Monday that outdoor markets and showrooms would be allowed to resume business on June 1, while other shops will reopen two weeks later according to Reuters."Today, I want to give thePrime Minister Boris Johnson said during an address Monday that outdoor markets and showrooms would be allowed to resume business on June 1, while other shops will reopen two weeks later according to Reuters.

New York (CNN Business ) More than 40 million Americans have filed for first-time unemployment benefits The number of people claiming regular unemployment benefits for consecutive weeks fell to But this reopening will be staggered and unsynchronized. Some states will move ahead faster

Here ' s what you need to know . Unemployment benefits are taxable. However, state benefits vary widely. Some are more generous and some (typically southern states) far less so.

The fundamental issue here is whether more people will go back to work if unemployment benefits are cut back to normal, where they range from $213 per week in Alabama to $555 in Massachusetts (the national average is $378). That’s roughly 40% of the median wage.

You could argue that the incentive to work would be dramatically higher, but that would matter only if jobs were plentiful and the barriers to work (such as a lack of child care) were few. And when the economy is in a deep hole, as it is today, sharply reduced unemployment benefits for tens of millions of unemployed Americans mean less spending, less demand and less economic activity.

That’s one thing opponents of the added benefits seem to be forgetting. Lawmakers didn’t toss in the extra $600 a week because they wanted to make life cushy for laid-off low-wage workers. They did it to try to keep the economy going in spite of the collapse in demand.

That extra money won’t get stuffed into a mattress; it will buy food and clothes, pay bills, cover health insurance deductibles and otherwise flow into and through the economy. And considering that millions of the recipients are in low-wage industries, the recipients are more likely to spend the money quickly and fully than the middle-income families that received $2,400 or more in stimulus checks from the CARES Act.

There’s no doubt that some people who’ve been laid off will try to game the system, especially if they were in dead-end jobs they hated. But it’s a mistake to assume that goldbrickers abound and that the only thing standing between us and a vibrant economy is the disincentive posed by the extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits.

The bigger challenge for us at the moment — and for months to come — is generating the demand for goods and services that will enable businesses not just to reopen, but to stay open and get back to full capacity.

The stay-at-home orders were well intended, but they have suffocated the economy. Laid-off workers are among the victims, not the villains. And as long as unemployment is at panic levels, the federal government can’t afford to take its foot off the gas.

Jon Healey is the deputy editorial page editor, writing most often about the economy, regulation, technology, Congress and healthcare policy. He has been with the Los Angeles Times since 2000, covering technology news before joining the Opinion section.


figures for May: US unemployment rate dropped completely surprisingly - Trump: "The numbers are incredible" .
© dpa The unemployment rate dropped to 13.3 percent. The corona crisis has hit the US labor market hard. But in May the number of employees rose again in some areas. The US president cheers the data. The unemployment rate in the USA fell slightly to 13.3 percent in May, despite the coronavirus pandemic. In April the rate was still 14.7 percent , as the US government announced on Friday. experts had expected an increase to 19.8 percent. As a separate survey shows, created around 2.5 million jobs

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