A bill proposed by state Democrats would provide assistance to striking workers, despite unemployment benefits historically being restricted to those who lost their jobs through layoffs and corporate downsizing.
Two million Californians lost unemployment benefits last September when pandemic-era programs ended a lifeline for many workers, specifically those who were less-educated, Black or over the age of 64.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a bipartisan agreement to fill the financial hole in the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund, which once stood at $4.5 billion, that was depleted by the pandemic.
In September, the state had nearly 1.03 million job openings, which amounts to almost 1.8 openings for every unemployed resident. Dallas-Fort Worth added 255,000 jobs in the last year, roughly 2.5 times the usual pace.
A report from the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development found that, for the last seven years, the state has performed “at or near the bottom” in employment growth, unemployment, net migration and GDP.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office reported that the state’s antiquated unemployment system and “ad hoc workarounds” contributed to a loss of billions of dollars in improper payments.
There was concern earlier this year that the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund would diminish, but the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations reported this week that it has grown to $232 million.
A state audit found that the Workforce Development office paid nearly $125,000 to deceased people and another nearly $114,000 to ineligible prisoners in the 2019 to 2020 fiscal year.
As of July, approximately 440,000 Louisianans have voluntarily left their jobs this year, the highest total for the first seven months of a year since 2000. But experts say mobility signals a healthy economy, albeit a challenging one for employers.
The Labor Department has increased its previous estimate of pandemic-era unemployment benefits fraud by nearly $30 billion. The agency has opened more than 190,000 investigations and charged more than 1,000 with fraud.
An audit found that the state’s unemployment agency likely paid between $441 million and $466 million in fake claims from March 2020 to March 2022. It also flagged numerous legitimate claimants as fraud.
A federal judge has approved a settlement between the state and 54 residents who had been on a work-release program but lost COVID-related unemployment benefits when the pandemic stopped their work opportunity.
The economy keeps adding them by the hundreds of thousands. But those big numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Staff shortages and a rush to distribute funds generated confusion and mistakes, resulting in unemployment benefit overpayments to thousands of Alabamians. Now, the state wants its money back.
The state’s Wage Theft Task Force has helped 265 workers to recoup pay over the last two-and-a-half years during the pandemic and has brought charges against a dozen businesses for wage fraud.
The state’s candidates for governor are addressing jobs, transportation, education and small businesses, but some voters feel they avoid talking about the most-pressing issues, like inflation or the cost of living.