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Unemployment Rates in the United States due to COVID-19

At present, the increase in unemployment in the United States is associated with the country’s epidemiological situation and the tightening of quarantine measures taken by states and individual cities’ authorities. Unemployment rates are more critical compared to the 2008 economic crisis. Vedder’s point is that US citizens tend to work less due to numerous government policies decreasing the reasons to be employed. However, such statement cannot be considered correct as the 2020 economic crisis arose in association with the pandemic outbreak and unexpected loss of jobs in the service sector.

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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government has passed the most extensive bailout package in the country’s history to mitigate the crisis’s impact. These days, unemployed Americans rely on the support of the food banks, charitable structures and federal or state authorities’ help. In particular, the US government runs several programs to help jobless people, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (Wolfson & Leung, 2020). The organization provides the needy citizens with food stamps that allow them to get a sufficient amount of products for a living.

Considering the COVID-19 outcomes, there are some nuances; for instance, most unemployed people are not temporarily employed but have retained their jobs. Vedder (2013) claims that the reason to work is diminished as long as the state provides food. His point is that even if the unemployment rate decreases, the number of food stamps distributed among citizens increases. However, the social composition of those who need help has also changed significantly.

Before the pandemic, in the 2010s, charitable organizations’ support was mainly received by the elderly and the unemployed. According to Niles et al. (2020), the number of jobless citizens grows, so there is a percentage increase in the poverty population, raising public assistance dependence. Unlike the Great Depression, most of the new cases are people on unpaid leave; they account for almost 80% of the increase in unemployment (Bell & Blanchflower, 2020). Therefore, most Americans working in the service industry have been affected and compelled to apply for a food stamps program.

Furthermore, due to the pandemic, many low-income families with children are also at unexpected risk regarding food security. As many of them received free meals in schools, but the establishments were quarantined (Wolfson & Leung, 2020). In addition to the extra spending on home meals for school children, regarding the constant stay of the family members at home, utility bills are also growing, which form a large part of spendings (Wolfson & Leung, 2020). The number of preferential food stamps in the US has risen more than 20% since the start of the pandemic. It is the service sector failure outcome, which remains the most significant area in the country’s economy (Wolfson & Leung, 2020). The US food stamps program is crucial for many Americans.

In summary, Vedder’s point cannot be considered applicable in the COVID-19 circumstances. In this case, the increase in food stamps is not caused by people’s reluctance to work but by economic failure. The US economy’s slowdown was stimulated by restrictive measures introduced to contain the new coronavirus’s spread. The coronavirus epidemic and the adoption of quarantine measures have led to the closure of many companies whose business was based on tourists and visitors’ flow. The high unemployment rates in the United States may persist in a long-term perspective. The reason for this phenomenon was the redistribution due to the coronavirus pandemic. Job offers appear in some sectors of the economy, albeit with a delay, but in others, their number is rapidly declining.

References

Bell, David N. F., and David G. Blanchflower. 2020. “US and UK Labour Markets Before and During the Covid-19 Crash.” National Institute Economic Review 252(2020): 52-69.

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Niles, Meredith T., Farryl Bertmann, Emily H. Belarmino, Thomas Wentworth, Erin Biehl, and Roni Neff. 2020. “The Early Food Insecurity Impacts of COVID-19.” Nutrients, 12(7): 1-23.

Vedder, Richard. 2013. “The Wages of Unemployment.The Wall Street Journal. Web.

Wolfson, Julia A., and Cindy W. Leung. 2020. “Food Insecurity and COVID-19: Disparities in Early Effects for US Adults.” Nutrients 12(6): 1-12.

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