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U.S. Unemployment Offices Sitting on Mountain of Pending Claims
Some state officials say they're struggling to process a flood of applications, and to adapt computer systems to accept new types of claims allowed under the CARES Act. That's creating a backlog of claims that aren't yet showing in the official figures.
“We will finish the week out through tonight, midnight, with 75,000 applications submitted,” Cher Haavind, spokeswoman for the Colorado Labor Department, said in a phone interview on Friday.
By comparison, Colorado reported less than 20,000 jobless claims to the Department of Labor last week. “Both the unofficial applications submitted and the official U.S. DOL claims will go up,” in coming weeks, Haavind predicted.
In Minnesota, officials are asking people to stagger their unemployment insurance filings to limit the strain on their processing systems, with those whose Social Security numbers end in 0, 1 or 2 to file on Monday, 3, 4 or 5 on Tuesday, and those whose numbers end in 6, 7, 8 or 9 to file on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are reserved for people who missed their designated day.
"Many states reported severe backlogs. Their systems were simply not designed to process the sheer volume of claims they faced," said Tim Quinlan, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.
U.S. unemployment benefits processing is built around a decades-old mainframe computer system, which each state has modified in different ways.
The unemployment office is one place that is hiring.
Colorado has about 200 of its 500 labor department employees working on processing claims now, Haavind said, and is hiring another 90 temporary workers.
My local hardware store and produce market are serving the community.
Libs are nuttier than squirrel poop
I also heard on the radio Krogers was hiring 20,000 due to the coronavirus. So are some others companies.
If I were a betting man, I'd be laying my money on another big spike in unemployment. We'll check next week's unemployment claims.
"With jobless claims reaching record highs as businesses lay off in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kroger is among a handful of companies hiring to meet the demand for deliveries and goods as Americans hunker down at home."
Kroger ,Walmart ,Amazon and Dollar General have announced they will be hiring more than a million people in the weeks ahead . A new Dollar Tree warehouse is opening up soon ,closed to where I live. They need to hire more than 400 workers in the near future and the average wage will be $15/hr. Where one business slows down many more are going full steam ahead.
Economists at the Fed’s St. Louis district project total employment reductions of 47 million, which would translate to a 32.1% unemployment rate, according to a recent analysis of how bad things could get.
The projections are even worse than St. Louis Fed President James Bullard’s much-publicized estimate of 30%. They reflect the high nature of at-risk jobs that ultimately could be lost to a government-induced economic freeze aimed at halting the coronavirus spread.
More Layoffs Coming -- Retail Stores
Macy's, Kohl's and Gap Inc. all said Monday they will stop paying tens of thousands of employees who were thrown out of work when the chains temporarily closed their stores and sales collapsed as a result of the pandemic.
Macy's said the majority of its 125,000 employees will be furloughed this week and that it is transitioning to an "absolute minimum workforce" needed to maintain basic operations. Macy's said it has lost the bulk of its sales due to the temporarily closing of more than 600 stores starting March 18.
Kohl's said that the furloughs will apply to 85,000 of its 120,000 employees at stores and distribution centers. It will continue to ship products and do curbside pickup from most stores with a limited number of staff.
Gap's spokesman Sandy Goldberg said the furloughs affect nearly 80,000 out of 129,000 employees across all brands, including Banana Republic and Old Navy.
The moves are bad news for an economy in which the retail industry supports one out of four workers.
It is also perhaps the most dramatic sign that even big name retailers are seeing their business evaporate and that the $2 trillion rescue package passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump last week may have limited impact.
Analysts expect more furloughs to come as retailers scramble to pay their employees from fast-dwindling cash reserves. Labor is the single biggest monthly fixed cost for retailers, according to investment research firm Cowen & Co.
“This could push us further into a damaging recession that will last longer than the duration of the crisis," said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail.
More than 190,000 stores, including J.C. Penney and Neiman Marcus, have temporarily closed, accounting for nearly 50% of the U.S. retail square footage, according to Saunders. Discounters, grocers and wholesale clubs that sell essential items like groceries remain open, although they have their own challenges of keeping up with shoppers who continue to stockpile canned goods, paper towels and other staples.
When announcing the temporary closures, most retailers said they would keep paying their workers but they were looking at a two-week timetable. That moment has now passed and the furloughs have become increasingly necessary as the coronavirus rapidly spreads.
The big question is how much of these furloughs will lead to permanent layoffs.
According to Dictionary.com, a furlough is a temporary suspension or layoff from work, where the employer usually gets to return to their job when the furlough has ended. The employee are sometimes not be paid during a furlough and it can last for however long the employer desires.
While a furlough may seem like a layoff from work, there are a few key differences between the two.
Furloughed employees return to work when the period is over, compared to a layoff where that employee does not return.
Furloughed employees also usually retain their benefits and employment rights, while employees that are laid off do not.
In the past, employees have been furloughed during times of economic hardship like the 2018 government shut down or the 2008 recession.