Louisiana unemployment startling growth, but help is coming

Thursday Noon headlines - 3/26/20

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Last week’s jump to 3.3 million national unemployment claim numbers marked a massive increase from the 282,000 unemployment claims in the week before, and what makes this different than other moments in history is the sudden impact of the virus that has affected almost every industry in America.

This is now the most claims in a week, since the U.S. Department of Labor started tracking unemployment in 1967. In terms of relief, Congress will now decide on a $2.2 trillion relief package to send money directly to Americans.

Other federal legislation passed last week now requires small businesses to provide 10 days of paid sick leave for employees directly impacted, regardless of how long the workers have been employed.

Louisiana reported issues with filing unemployment claims due to the sudden influx tying up websites and phone lines.

Senate passes $2 trillion package to boost economy during coronavirus outbreak

Financial experts say the stimulus bill will increase unemployment benefits by hundreds of dollars on top of what Louisiana already pays out. Gov. John Bel Edwards says he is also looking at how the bill will help those contract or self-employed workers who don’t fall under traditional unemployment standards.

“It’s going to increase your unemployment benefits by $600 for the next four months so that’s a really big deal. That’s on top of what you normally would receive from your state unemployment. So, this is really going to be something that’s going to help individuals who are searching for work at this time,” CPA Kemberly Washington said.

Edwards said there may be some contract workers that are not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits. The state is receiving questions from those citizens.

“We believe there will be some assistance in the bill, but we are not certain yet,” Edwards said.

Economists now expect the U.S. economy to fall into a recession in the second quarter before staging a comeback later in the year after the spread of the virus slows.

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