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IRA Financial Group Blog

Unemployment and COVID-19

3 Minute Read

There’s no good time to lose a job you need, but a pandemic makes it especially unfortunate, but unemployment and COVID-19 are directly related.

Key Points
  • Unemployment in the US is at near-record rates
  • Some companies are hiring
  • It’s important to keep looking

Federal Unemployment Benefit

The extra $600 federal unemployment benefit enacted by Congress and the President in the CARES Act expired Friday, July 31, 2020. Meant to be a lifeline for those affected directly by COVID-19, the benefits, along with state funds, gave a bit of a cushion to many of the millions of unemployed Americans currently in the country.

Having no extension scheduled to continue this benefit, the millions who were using it to stay afloat will now only have their state benefits to rely on. As an unemployed American this can feel daunting and overwhelming.

Looking for Work

It can be a daunting task looking for work at any time, but especially during the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. With virus hotspots popping up in states across the nation, many companies are shutting down and hiring is limited. But there is hope.

Some areas of the job market are hiring, and it’s important to keep a good record of what you apply to and what response you’ve received. A simple Excel spreadsheet can help keep your records organized. Recommended data for tracking includes job title applied; company applied; person reach out to, if you know it; date submitted; which resume you’ve sent if you’ve got more than one; and date you follow up.

Contacting Your Network

You should not feel uncomfortable reaching out to your network through LinkedIn; that’s part of what the work network is for. And unemployment is happening to so many right now, whether through furloughs or permanent releases, it’s very common for people to be looking. Your network may be able to advise open positions within their own companies, or may be able to connect you with someone who can help.

There’s roughly 4.5 million infections in the United States through the end of July, 2020, and with unemployment near record highs, many are looking for work these days. There are opportunities out there but many are hidden, and many require being in the know, and it can depend on who you know.

Keeping A Good Outlook

It can be challenging to keep a strong mental attitude with everything that’s going on, especially due to unemployment and COVID-19. There are some things you can do to reinforce your positivity and your inner strength.

If you’re looking for work, you’re not just doing that – you’re doing it during a pandemic. And that makes a difference. The pandemic is affecting people’s ability to go outside, which means they’re getting less sunlight. Masks are de rigueur at the moment, which can make shopping, when it’s even possible, feel airless. Staying safe is, of course, more important than fashion, and it makes some decisions feel very overwhelming, if not impossible.

But there is good news. There are things you can do to make certain your brain is still exercising, that your body stays in shape, and that your circle of friends knows how you are doing.

Staying Sane Through Unemployment and COVID-19

The traditional wisdom applies here. Try to eat well, with fruits and vegetables a large part of your meal plan. Get plenty of sleep and quality rest. Exercise frequently so that you get and keep your body moving.

Beyond this, there are some more things to keep in your mind as options. Try to do something you enjoy regularly. If you read for enjoyment, maybe see if you can schedule a minimum of 15 minutes a night, before bed if it relaxes you, or while the rest of the family is sleeping first thing in the morning. If you enjoy gardening, take yourself to the windowbox or the garden and benefit from the fresh air and the feeling of your hands in the dirt.

The feeling of dirt can be a great way to ground yourself. Connecting with nature is important, and can be beneficial to your soul as well as to your body. Exercising outside if possible may help as well. Feeling a loss at your job disappearing is natural, and you can try and find other things to keep yourself occupied as you process your loss.

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