unemployment

Many states introduced moratoriums to protect residents from having their utilities shut off for non-payment during the early days of the pandemic. But those moratoriums are coming to an end.

Downtown Laramie, Wyoming
Bob Beck


It was a rough spring for Wyoming's workforce. Unemployment skyrocketed with the closure of many businesses due to COVID-19. The federal government provided assistance, but it took awhile to get the roughly $336 million it paid out into people's hands. Robin Cooley is the director of Wyoming Department of Workforce Services. She told Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck that when the pandemic hit in Wyoming, things changed quickly.

picserver.org/e/economy.html

A new report from the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information shows that sales tax numbers last spring dropped dramatically in both mining and lodging.

President Donald Trump says an executive order he signed on Saturday funds a $400 weekly supplement to unemployment benefits. But it likely won't be as helpful as it seems.


Taylar Stagner

Riverton has seemingly returned to normal from months of closed businesses, social distancing, and mask-wearing. This while Fremont County has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state.

Even so, Riverton Mayor Richard Guard said that people are happy to get back to work.

Juntos

Ana Castro was born in Mexico City and crossed the border with her mother as a child using a coyote- a person who smuggles immigrants across the U.S. border for a fee.

Courtesy Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust

A new state program seeks to keep Wyoming residents in their homes, even as many struggle to make rent or mortgage payments.

Yellowstone Forever

The official nonprofit organization of Yellowstone National Park laid off more than 30 employees and closed its education branch.

Updated at 4:13 p.m. ET

The U.S economy rebounded with surprising strength last month as businesses began to reopen from the coronavirus lockdown. U.S. employers added 2.5 million jobs in May, and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3%.

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Updated at 8:47 a.m. ET

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed unemployment to its highest level since the Great Depression, but the pace of layoffs has been easing. And there are now some signs that the job market could slowly start to recover.

The Labor Department says another 1.87 million people filed claims for unemployment insurance last week. That's down 249,000 from the previous week. While still very high by historical standards, the number has been declining steadily from a peak of 6.8 million the week ending March 28.

Image of HollyFrontier's Cheyenne Refinery on its website
HollyFrontier

HollyFrontier Corporation, a Texas-based independent petroleum refiner, announced it plans to transform its Cheyenne Refinery to focus on a new product and reduce its overall workforce by about 75 percent. Rather than producing conventional diesel, it will now look to renewable diesel.

Updated at 9:38 a.m. ET

More than 1 in 4 U.S. workers have lost their jobs since the coronavirus crisis shut down much of the economy in March.

Just last week, another 2.1 million people filed for unemployment benefits, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's down 323,000 from the previous week but brings the total for the past 10 weeks to 40.8 million, which represents 26% of the civilian labor force in April.

Public Domain

Wyoming's unemployment rate more than doubled in a just month, increasing from 3.8 percent in March to 9.2 percent in April. The largest job losses were seen in the leisure and hospitality industry, with Teton County being hit the hardest at 18.3 percent due to their dependency on tourism.

The United States is still losing jobs at an alarming pace two months after the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Another 2.4 million people filed claims for unemployment last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That's down 249,000 — or 9% — from the previous week, but still painfully high by historical standards.

In the past nine weeks, jobless claims have totaled 38.6 million. That's roughly one out of every four people who were working in February, before the pandemic hit.

Updated at 3:49 p.m. ET

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a hit in the paychecks of close to half of U.S. households, the Census Bureau says.

Since March 13, 47% of adults say they — or another adult in their home — have lost employment income, while 39% say they're expecting their households to earn less from work over the next four weeks.

With the first of the month coming in less than two weeks, more than a fifth of adults report they have just slight or no confidence in their ability to make their next rent or mortgage payment on time.

Members of the Senate Banking Committee squabbled Tuesday over how quickly the U.S. economy can rebound from the coronavirus shutdown and whether the federal government is doing enough to support struggling families and businesses in the meantime.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warns it could be another year and a half before the U.S. recovers from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. But he says this will not be another Great Depression.

"It's going to be a very sharp downturn," Powell said in an interview with 60 Minutes that aired Sunday. "It should be a much shorter downturn than you would associate with the 1930s."

University of Wyoming

College students are leaving the University of Wyoming into an unknown job market. Normally students would have jobs lined up, but these are not normal times. Jo Chytka is UW's Director of Advising, Career and Exploratory Studies. She joins Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck to discuss the situation.

As the coronavirus pandemic hammers oil prices, the number of "orphaned" or abandoned oil wells could grow. A group wants to enlist newly unemployed oilfield workers in addressing the problem.

 


Updated at 5:19 p.m. ET

Nearly 3 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week — bringing the total to 36.5 million in the past eight weeks, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The number of people filing claims has been steadily dropping for weeks, since hitting nearly 7 million during one week in March. Still, claims remain at historically high levels, suggesting that the coronavirus isn't done pummeling the U.S. economy.

Additional government spending may be necessary to avoid long-lasting fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday.

Powell said the economy should recover once the virus is under control. But he cautioned that without more help, many small businesses may not survive that long. And he warned that a wave of business and household bankruptcies could do lasting damage to the nation's economic output.

At the end of April, the national unemployment rate hit 14.7% – the highest rate since the Great Depression. On CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett predicted the rate will exceed 20% when the Department of Labor issues May's numbers.

Updated at 4:11 p.m. ET

House Democrats are moving full steam ahead with legislation to provide a new wave of coronavirus relief at a price tag of more than $3 trillion, with plans to call the full House back on Friday to approve it.

If you're still waiting for your pandemic payment from the federal government, and you would like to receive it directly into your bank account, head over to the IRS website by noon on Wednesday.

If the IRS doesn't have your direct deposit information by that deadline, you'll still get your payment — but you'll receive it in the form of a paper check, which might not arrive until June.

In the past decade, the Decker Coal Mine sent its coal to several locations around the country. Since 2015, though, it's primary customer has been a Minnesota coal-fired power plant
U.S. Energy Information Administration

The past few months, COVID-19 has taken its toll on employment in the Powder River Basin. Weak market conditions have struck again with a new round of furloughs at the Decker Coal Mine just north of the Wyoming border in Montana.

The worst of the nation's historic job losses are yet to come, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who told Fox News Sunday that "the reported numbers are probably going to get worse before they get better."

Downtown Laramie, Wyoming
Bob Beck


This is a tough financial time for a lot of Wyomingites. But impacts on the general public also impact funding for local governments, which directly impacts a wide variety of services from law enforcement to streets.

Cooper McKim


The sun is beating down on a nearly empty gravel plot. Just a few weeks ago, trailers owned by oil field and pipeline workers lined this man camp.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

Democrats and some Republicans are considering ways for the federal government to get money into people's pockets while the coronavirus is keeping much of the economy on ice.

Proposals for the next round of aid are being floated, and Democrats in the House are prepping another relief package as jobless claims continue to rise in the country. The Labor Department announced Friday that 20.5 million jobs were lost in April, pushing the overall unemployment rate to 14.7 %.

The Labor Department is expected to deliver a historically bad employment report Friday, showing millions of jobs lost last month as the jobless rate soared to around 16% — the highest level since the Great Depression.

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