SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – With economic relief for workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic set to expire in a matter of days, millions of Americans, have their eyes on Washington, D.C.
Republicans laid out their $1-trillion coronavirus relief proposal this week on capitol hill. It includes a cut on enhanced benefits from $600 to $200.
It’s a change Maddie Peterson and her husband Colby says would hit them hard if it takes effect.
“Getting the unemployment and especially the $600 boost has been really helpful to our family,” Colby said. “Losing it in the next week or so is going to be a little bit of a challenge.”
The Davis County husband and wife were both laid off in April. To make ends meet they’ve been picking up trade-work until they can find something sufficient to cover all of the bills.
Maddie says she was offered a job but couldn’t take it. When school starts in the fall her kids will be learning from home half of the week, as required by the school, and Maddie says they can’t afford to have someone watch the kids while they learn from home.
“I’m thinking in a few months are we going to have enough to put food on the table? My concern is my children. That’s what I think about.”
Hailee Hinds also felt the impact. The Davis County woman was eight months pregnant with her first child when her job was forced to close due to the pandemic.
“It was a struggle. All I could think is, how am I going to provide for a child that is going to be here any minute. It was hard.”
Hinds said she was able to make it through with help from Circles Salt Lake, an organization that helps families reach self-sufficiency through ally partnerships, education, and training.
“We were able to figure out how much we’re gonna need to start getting things to prepare for a baby,” she said.
Davis Parker was furloughed due to the pandemic. The Salt Lake County husband and father of three said without the extra $600 unemployment benefit, he probably would have dug a hole in his savings account to survive.
“I think I was getting like for $485 a week, and that doesn’t go as far as it used to. That extra $600 was really a huge blessing for us during that time.”
Colby’s background is in marketing. He has a double masters in his field and is still looking for full-time work.
Hinds was able to find a new job.
Parker’s job re-opened and he is now back at work.
“Some individuals might see their industry be slow to recover,” said Kevin Burt, Unemployment Insurance Director, Utah Department of Workforce Services. “What they’re gonna have to do is look at opportunities in different industries that have been able to adjust and have been able to thrive in this pandemic, at least temporarily.”
But says there’s good news when it comes to Utah’s economy.
“Right now we have the second-lowest unemployment in the nation at 5.1%. Remember, early in this pandemic, it was nearly 10% or a little over 10%. So we’re certainly doing significantly better in Utah since the start of this pandemic when it comes to unemployment insurance, and we are doing better than the nation.”
A statewide virtual job fair is taking place on Thursday, July 30 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m..
For more details, click here.