Congressional COVID Relief Bill Offers New York Workers Some Needed Relief

New York State’s unemployed workers will soon see some relief from the federal coronavirus relief bill passed on December 21, 2020. The bill provides $300/week in enhanced unemployment compensation (FPUC). It also extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) for another 11 weeks.

In October and November of 2020, New York’s unemployment rate stood at 10 percent, with over 800,000 unemployed workers.

  • Those most impacted by layoffs include Black workers (at 14 percent unemployed) and Hispanic and Asian workers (both at 13 percent unemployed). Comparatively, 7 percent of white workers were unemployed.
  •  Immigrant workers, a category defined as naturalized citizens, green card holders, and undocumented immigrants, had a higher unemployment rate (11 percent) than workers born in the U.S. (9 percent).
  • Workers under the age of 25 and those without a 4-year college degree were also unemployed at higher rates. Workers under the age of 25 have an unemployment rate of 14 percent. Workers with a high school degree or less have an unemployment rate of 11 percent, as did those with associate degrees or some college.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, New York State workers have claimed over 80 million weeks of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.

  • Industries with the most significant number of laid–off workers include Accommodation and food services, Retail, and Health care and Social services.
  • With COVID-19 infections surging across New York State and the nation, Congress will need to pass more relief in March to protect workers, the economy, and public health.

By Brent Kramer, Senior Economist, and Cara Long Corra, Senior Policy Analyst

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The Fiscal Policy Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization committed to improving public policies and private practices to better the economic and social conditions of all.
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