9 Months into Crisis, Unemployment Claims Near Record High… Damage to Social Security to extend beyond pandemic

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9 months into crisis, unemployment claims near record high…

  • Unemployment benefits are flowing to workers in a volume that is near records set before the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Elevated figures — for “continued” and “initial” claims — reflect economic and financial pain almost nine months into the Covid-19 crisis.

The number of Americans collecting and applying for unemployment benefits is hovering near pre-pandemic records. By some measures, the figure still exceeds any historical precedent.

The volume reflects deep and sustained pain for workers, nearly nine months after the health and economic crisis began.

“The numbers we’re looking at now are [far higher than] anything we’ve seen before,” said Erica Groshen, a labor economist at Cornell University and former commissioner of the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. “We’ve never seen a shock like this.”

 

Damage to Social Security to extend beyond pandemic

COVID-19’s impact on America’s older adults is set to outlast the pandemic itself as it wreaks havoc on the Social Security retirement trust fund that millions rely on for benefits.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that in the aftermath of the pandemic, the trust fund will deplete its $2.8 trillion reserve over the next decade unless changes are made. Inaction would lead to cuts of 20 percent or more to benefits starting in 2031.

The decreased revenue stream stems in large part from the millions of lost jobs during the pandemic, which has led to fewer people and employers paying into the trust fund. That drop, paired with a scaling back of hours at remaining jobs, has been the biggest blow to the long-term outlook for Social Security, according to a report from the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC).

But COVID-19 has impacted the fund in several other ways. The recession has prompted older workers to retire earlier than they previously expected, meaning they’re drawing down funds instead of contributing to them. Also, low interest rates mean smaller yields for the bonds held by the Social Security funds.

More than half of emergency small business funds went to larger businesses, new data show…

WASHINGTON – More than half of the money from the Treasury Department’s coronavirus emergency fund for small businesses went to just 5% of the recipients, according to data on more than 5 million loans released by the government Tuesday evening in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and lawsuit.

According to data on the government’s Paycheck Protection Program, about 600 mostly larger companies, including dozens of national chains, received the maximum amount allowed under the program of $10 million.

Officials from the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration have argued that the program primarily benefited smaller business because a vast majority of the loans ― more than 87% ― were for less than $150,000, as of August. But the new data show that more than half of the $522 billion in the same time frame had gone to bigger businesses, and only 28% of the money was distributed in amounts of under $150,000.

4 In 5 Americans Desperate To Be Cheered Up After Difficult 2020…

NEW YORK — There’s no question 2020 has been a rough year for many people. A new survey finds eight in 10 Americans are desperate to hear some positive news before the year ends.

The study asked 2,000 people about ways they’ve coped with the stress of 2020 and COVID-19. The results find 75 percent said the constant stream of bad news has taken a toll. Seven in 10 respondents have made it a priority to do something positive every day as quarantine continues.

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