Unemployment rates continue to rise in New York despite federal programs

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Thomson200 | Commons Wikimedia

Rachel Dalloo

Data showcasing the federal unemployment rates note that the number of New Yorkers telling the government they’ve been unemployed for more than six months is steadily increasing. New Yorkers now have access to extended unemployment benefits under federal rules because of the state’s increasing unemployment claims, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

In New York, approximately more than 2.25 million people have qualified for benefits from unemployment during the pandemic, with the state paying billions for assistance. These benefits are in addition to federal benefits already supplied by the U.S. Department of Labor and Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to The Telegraph.

During the week of Sept. 19, the jobless claims increased by approximately more than 9,000, from 61,897 to 71,300, according to the latest U.S. Department of Labor figures. The rate dropped to 12.5% from 15.9% in the month of August for New York.

To compensate for the residents of New York who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is now giving New Yorkers the opportunity to become poll workers for the upcoming general election without losing their benefits from seeking unemployment. The governor had signed an executive order during the week of Sept. 23, which allowed for people who are currently collecting benefits to sign up for temporary work at election boards just in time for the Nov. 3 vote. This part-time work opportunity cannot exceed $504 in weekly pay and the order covers the days leading up to Election Day. It will allow for people to help assist on the voting sites in order to prepare for the election and earn a salary.

“The situation is, the boards of elections are doing something different this year, and we went through one election and that election showed a lot of issues for the local boards…tell us what you need. If you need people to help administer, then tell us and we’ll help you get the bodies…. We can use National Guard personnel to help. We can use other state employees to help,” Cuomo stated in reference to New York State’s problematic primary back in June.

Eligible New Yorkers will receive payments of $300 per week for the weeks ending Aug. 2, 9 and 16 from the federal government’s Lost Wages Assistance Program. The Department of Labor states that about 2 million people are prequalified to receive about $300 in weekly checks.

An additional 435,000 of New Yorkers are also eligible but must submit additional documentation in order to qualify. Under the rules of the federal government, NYS may be eligible for additional weeks of LWA funding after the funds for those three weeks are disbursed, according to CBS2NY.