The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate climbed to 14.7 percent and that the US economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April. The unemployment rate increased by 10.3 percent this last month -- the highest rate and largest one month increase in history.
Some states are debating whether employees vulnerable to COVID-19 can refuse to return to work out of fear of contracting the virus and still receive unemployment benefits. Colorado Governor Jared Polis “told state regulators in April to make sure that people over age 65, people who have certain chronic diseases and other vulnerable people won’t be forced off unemployment if they turn down a job that’s likely to put their health at risk.” The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment issued emergency rules that would allow regulators to consider a person’s vulnerability to the coronavirus and their risk in returning to work.
California’s Governor, Gavin Newsome, just signed an executive order that creates a rebuttable presumption that any COVID-19-related illness of an employee shall be presumed to arise out of and in the course of employment for purposes of awarding workers’ compensation benefits. An employee can access workers’ compensation benefits so long as they test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of performing labor or services at their place of work. This executive order will remain in force for 60 days. Meanwhile, other states such New Jersey are weighing similar policies.
In contrast to expectations, funds still exist in the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program. As of Wednesday, over $124 billion dollars remained in the fund to be distributed. It may be possible to still apply. Find an Eligible PPP Lender.
As vehicle manufacturers like Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler report billions in losses to start the year, Michigan’s congressional delegation is considering a relief package for US automakers. It is unknown how a potential relief package for automakers might look but there is concern within the industry that another Cash for Clunkers style program may be in the works. However, Debbie Dingell (D-MI) has stated, “In response to any sort of federal program that might coax customers to make new-vehicle purchases, Dingell said “Cash for Clunkers is gone.” It will be worth monitoring developments to see whether Congress has the appetite for a new bailout for the automotive industry and what form relief may look like.