USA Today - 27.03.2020

(Darren Dugan) #1



service last week to contain the spread
of the virus.

Numbers are staggering

Layoffs continued in accommodation
and food services, Labor said. Other in-
dustries hit hard included health care
and social assistance, arts, entertain-
ment and recreation, transportation
and warehousing and manufacturing.
Darren McKeon of Colorado Springs,
Colorado, said he lost his job as the
fundraising manager for Student Pilots,
a nonprofit company that helps student
pilots get funding to fly aircraft.
He said the company shut down after
nonessential workers were ordered to
stay home.
“It’s going to be a rocky start to be
able to help people further their careers
(as pilots),” said McKeon, 24. “The avia-
tion industry was booming, but it’s ob-
viously not now.”
To put the economy’s reversal in per-
spective, the 211,000 claims filed the
week ending March 7 were near a half-
century low.
Last week’s total is several times
larger than the previous record tally of
695,000 unemployment insurance
claims in October 1982. It also far sur-
passes the count of 517,000 two weeks
after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and
570,000 during the depths of the finan-
cial crisis in December 2008, Morgan
Stanley said.

Jobless claims rose by 343,000 in
Pennsylvania, 180,000 in Ohio, 146,
in New Jersey, 140,000 in Massachu-
setts, 139,000 in Texas, 129,000 in Cali-
fornia and 119,000 in Washington.

Tens of thousands furloughed

The concern is that “layoffs are just
starting,” says economist Kathy Bost-
jancic of Oxford Economics.
Restaurants, hotels and transporta-
tion companies have been particularly
hard hit as eateries are shuttered or re-
stricted to takeout or pickup orders only,
and Americans forgo travel.
McMenamins, which operates brew-
pubs and hotels in the Northwest, is lay-
ing off 3,000 workers.
Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern
filed notice that it would lay off 975
workers in five states, including Indiana
and Ohio, where the coronavirus or a di-
saster declaration was specifically not-
ed as a reason for the cuts.
“The devastating impacts rippling
through the restaurant community due
to this situation cannot be overstated,”
president Gary Callicoat said.
Embassy Suites said it would cut 120
jobs in Arizona and Ohio. The virus out-
break was listed as a cause.
Hilton said its hotels and franchise
owners are taking steps such as sched-
uling shorter workweeks and having
employees take personal time off. Fur-
loughs are occurring on a wide scale.
“Tens of thousands ... have been fur-
loughed” in the USA, the company said.
This week, Hilton began an initiative to
help those employees find temporary
work with companies such as Amazon,

Walgreens and Albertsons that ramped
up hiring to meet the demand for coro-
navirus-related supplies.
After oil prices crashed amid plum-
meting global demand, Halliburton, the
oilfield services giant, announced
Wednesday it would start a mandatory
furlough for 3,500 employees. The fur-
lough, which will start Monday, will last
up to 60 days and “best position our
company in the current environment,”
Halliburton said in a statement provid-
ed to USA TODAY.

Living ‘shift to shift’

Casey Sexton of Middleton, New
Hampshire, said he lost his job as a res-
taurant server March 17, the day after
Gov. Chris Sununu ordered the closing
of restaurants and bars.
Sexton, 34, said he called creditors to
let them know he will be unable to pay
any of his bills.
“You hear people say they live pay-
check to paycheck,” he said. “I lived shift
to shift. I relied on every single tip.
“I’m very concerned about how I am
going to come out of all this when it
ends. I’m not sure if that means I’m go-
ing to have to file for bankruptcy.”
Some economists said the largest
single wave of layoffs probably occurred
last week as about half the states or-
dered the shutdown of restaurants and
bars and scores of other businesses.
“We would likely expect there not to
be nearly as many layoffs” in subse-
quent reports, Barclays economist Jon-
athan Millar said.
Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Mac-
roeconomics said claims “will drop over

the next few weeks” but remain highly
elevated as more businesses cut jobs.
He noted that some states were over-
whelmed by applications for benefits
last week, and many didn’t go through,
pushing them into the following week.
In California, among the states expe-
riencing such bottlenecks, Gov. Gavin
Newsom said the state got 1 million ap-
plications in less than two weeks.
Thursday, it reported just 186,
claims for last week, signaling hundreds
of thousands still to come.

Unemployment of 10%?

The outbreak could trigger about
7.5 million layoffs, largely in the second
quarter, as the 3.5% unemployment
rate, a 50-year low, climbs above 10%,
estimated Mark Zandi, chief economist
of Moody’s Analytics.
Oxford Economics said it foresees
15 million to 20 million job losses in
coming weeks.
Forecasts for last week’s claims var-
ied sharply, from about 1 million to up-
ward of 4 million, because many states
released partial-week reports to media
outlets, leading economists to extrapo-
late weekly tallies for all the states.
Such state reports previewing the fig-
ures may not continue. In a letter, the
Labor Department asked the states to
no longer report their totals until Labor
released its national figure Thursday.
In a statement to USA TODAY, Labor
said: “The public must be able to trust in
the accuracy, integrity and complete-
ness of the data being reported. Prema-
ture release of partial data may give the
public an inaccurate picture.”


Continued from Page 1A

the checks.
The wait may be longer for Ameri-
cans who will get their checks through
the mail, said Kyle Pomerleau of the
American Enterprise Institute.
“It’s going to take longer for the IRS to
process (physical checks), print them
and send them,” Pomerleau said.

So how much money should you
It depends on how much you’ve
earned in the past two years.
If you’ve already filed your 2019 tax-
es, the IRS will use those returns to de-
termine your rebate. If not, your 2018 re-
turns will be used to calculate your
Individuals with an adjusted gross
income of $75,000 or less will be eligible
for up to $1,200 ($2,400 for joint tax re-
turns) and $500 for each qualifying

child. Those with little or no tax liability
will get at least $600 ($1,200 for joint
The payments will start to phase out
for Americans who earn more than
$75,000, or $150,000 for a joint return.
The amount you receive will be de-
creased by 5% of the amount your in-
come exceeds $75,000. For example, a
single person with an $85,000 salary
would get $700 after subtracting 5% of
$10,000, or $500.
The payments will phase out com-

pletely for single filers with incomes
exceeding $99,000; $146,500 for head of
household filers with one child; and
$198,000 for joint filers with no chil-
You don’t have to apply to receive the
money. If you’ve filed income taxes in
the past two years, you will automati-
cally get a check.
Another bonus? The checks aren’t
Contributing: Paul Davidson and
Ledyard King


Continued from Page 1A






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