We’re four months into our new pandemic-altered reality, and while businesses straddle the line between reopening and shuttering (again), many Americans are finding their jobs no longer exist. Last week, 1.3 million Americans applied for unemployment insurance for the first time. Self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers — a vital and burgeoning contingent of today’s workforce — remain especially hard hit.
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? It depends on who you ask and how you approach it.
Nearly 13 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits via the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which aims to help gig economy workers and those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits. PUA recipients make up 41% of the 31.5 million total unemployment benefit recipients nationwide as of June 13, according to recent Labor Department statistics.
Even with these guardrails in place, not everyone is benefitting.