As many of you in the United States and around the world may be reading or experiencing the high unemployment figures which is getting scarier day by day. The pandemic has closed down the biggest economies of the world thus exacerbating the precarious situation of people living paycheck to paycheck. As the economies start to open, the main issue will be if there will be demand for the services most of the low income people are employed in. For the United States, the unemployment situation has gone really bad as unemployment is approaching levels not seen since the great depression of the 1930s (which many people right now don’t know about). Although the government of the United States have passed a stimulus package to cushion these unemployed people with $600 per week additional employment aid but this is due to expire on July 31 of this year and nobody is sure that the economy will pick up by then to make sure that the people out of a job will have enough to pay their bills. I have been there in their shoes, being unemployed almost four times in my life and so the sheer panic that one would not be able to feed themselves or their families without a job is a terrifying thought.
With historically high unemployment rate, the 50 states unemployment offices are being overwhelmed with claims that are taking forever to pay out the unemployment benefits. Since the states for whatever reason did not invest in the long crumbling systems, when this pandemic came along, their systems crashed and they had to hire people and update their systems. But with less revenue coming into state treasuries, it is hard catching up to do. Since I live in New Jersey and work in New York City, I had to apply for New York unemployment insurance and it took me less than 10 minutes to file and get approved in day or so. Those were the days but the system in place was not used to this kind of overwhelming unemployment claims that have crashed or made the states’ benefits systems crash and unable to respond after some people calling them for hundreds of times or logging in for hours and days on end without any resolution of their benefits claim. This is a wake up call (if they wake up) for states to update their systems and make sure the claims are given out even if has to operate 24 hours a day to fix it because the bills will not stop while you are sleep or wait for your benefits to arrive.