COVID-19 closures spark surge in unemployment claims

COVID-19 closures spark surge in unemployment claims

Excerpted from BenefitdPro by Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned that the U.S. unemployment rate could rise to 20 percent if something isn’t done.

Unemployment will likely skyrocket due to COVID-19, prompting the federal government and states to expand eligibility for unemployment benefits and paid leave for affected workers.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday told Republican senators that the U.S. unemployment rate could rise to 20 percent if the government didn’t pass an economic stimulus package, such as the $1 trillion proposal by the Trump administration, sources told The Washington Post.

Any kind of help from Congress should include financial assistance to wage workers and small- and medium-sized businesses, or else the country would suffer extraordinarily high unemployment, Mnuchin reportedly said.

However, Treasury Department spokeswoman Monica Crowley told the Post that the worst-case scenario was not inevitable if Congress didn’t pass such a stimulus package.

“During the meeting with Senate Republicans today, Secretary Mnuchin used several mathematical examples for illustrative purposes, but he never implied this would be the case,” Crowley said.
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