Washington – Just a couple of weeks ago, Erika Vega hoped her temporary job at a coffee shop would soon become a permanent position, but instead, the coronavirus pandemic forced the building where she worked to close, leaving her wondering where your next check will go.
Like millions of Americans and citizens in other parts of the world, the pandemic has left Vega in financial limbo: no income and while accounts payable accumulates.
The economy has slowed abruptly, unleashing a wave of layoffs that is much larger and faster than previous ones. In the United States, that is overwhelming unemployment benefit systems in the states and leaving many Americans still working fearful of who will be next.RELATED
Vega, 45, worked preparing meals and washing dishes in an office building in Manhattan until Thursday. The company that owns the cafeteria she worked at appreciated her job and told her that she wanted to hire her permanently, but she was still a temporary employee when the building closed and the employment agency told her that there are no more jobs available at a time when New York closes restaurants and bars.
“People who worked for the company get paid while staying home, but not me,” he said. “Everyone wants to be safe at home, but at the same time we have bills to pay,” he added.
Tens of thousands of jobless workers have already flooded state benefit portals to apply. In the week ending March 14, the number of people who applied for unemployment payments rose by 70,000 to 281,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.
That number is still historically low, but it could soon break the record 650,000 in January 2009.
Many states are reporting huge increases in claims for benefits this week, which were not included in today’s figures.
In Ohio, more than 48,000 people filed for unemployment payments just Monday and Tuesday. That compares with 1,825 on the same two days in the previous week.
In Pennsylvania, about 7,000 people applied for benefits on Tuesday, six times the total for the previous week. A flood of requests has caused payment request pages to collapse in New York, New Jersey and other states.
Layoffs are being felt in many companies, large and small.
Each layoff means less income for those who are out of work, forcing them to cut expenses, which leads other businesses to cut jobs.
Marriott International said Tuesday it had begun leaving thousands of employees unpaid leave. Those licenses are essentially temporary layoffs. Leave employees can receive unemployment benefits.
The three big American automakers are going to temporarily close their North American plants, leaving 150,000 workers at leisure. Toyota and Honda decided the same.