Income and Work

July 15, 2020 by Seth DiStefano
The RECLAIM Act and Social Determinants of Health

Recently, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. The bill is a comprehensive infrastructure package that includes public money for broadband, water systems, renewable energy investments, and two critical components that would support well-paying jobs and the revitalization of coalfield communities across the country-- the RECLAIM Act and the reauthorization of the…

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July 9, 2020 by Sean O'Leary
How to Best Use West Virginia’s $1.25 Billion in CARES Act Funding

Last month, Governor Justice unveiled his plan for using the $1.25 billion in CARES Act funding that West Virginia received to help the state respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Treasury Department guidance forbids states from using the funds to offset revenue losses due to the pandemic, limiting what states can do with the funding. This…

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July 1, 2020 by Sean O'Leary
Government Job Losses Are Weakening West Virginia’s Recovery

West Virginia added 13,300 jobs in May, welcome news after losing 92,000 jobs in April as the state struggled with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as food service, health care, and other private sector jobs saw modest gains after April's massive losses, state and local government jobs continued to decline, partially offsetting…

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June 28, 2020 by Sean O'Leary
As Unemployment Remains High, Experts Concerned About End of Bonus Payment

Huntington Herald-Dispatch - To slow the spread of the virus no one in the world has immunity to, thousands of West Virginians had to lose their jobs. Read full article here. Now, as people head back to work, some low-earning West Virginians are realizing they may have been better off without a job. The federal…

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June 25, 2020 by Sean O'Leary
CARES Act Unemployment Provisions Should Be Extended While Need Remains

Thanks to the CARES Act that was passed in March, last week more than 76,000 unemployed West Virginian workers claimed unemployment benefits that were more generous than those they normally would have received, while thousands more were able to receive benefits who otherwise would have received no benefits at all. However, if Congress does not…

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June 8, 2020 by Sean O'Leary
Women, Minorities, and Young Workers Most Affected by Recent Job Losses

According to WorkForce West Virginia, West Virginia lost 90,100 jobs in April, as the COVID-19 pandemic and the response to it rocked the state's economy. Since the end of March, 157,807 West Virginians have filed for unemployment insurance. This week, the Department of Labor released data on the characteristics of those who filed unemployment claims…

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April 30, 2020 by Kelly Allen,
Low-income Earners, Women and Workers of Color First Back to Work under Governor’s Plan

Earlier this week, Governor Jim Justice unveiled his plan for reopening West Virginia’s businesses, dubbed “The Comeback”. Among the businesses slated to open first under his plan are day care centers, restaurants, and professional services including hair and nail salons. West Virginians who work in these sectors will be among the first back to work…

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April 29, 2020 by Seth DiStefano
Seth DiStefano: Classify Front-Line Workers Among Our First Responders

Beckley Register-Herald - Gov. Jim Justice needs to immediately classify grocery store, food processing and pharmacy workers who must work during this pandemic as first responders through Executive Order. Read op-ed. Being classified as an “essential” employee during the COVID-19 pandemic and response may guarantee you keep your paycheck, but it doesn’t keep you and…

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April 27, 2020 by Sean O'Leary
Tracking the Coronavirus Economic Impact in West Virginia

Social distancing, closing of nonessential businesses, and stay at home orders have all helped protect lives in West Virginia. But they have also led to record job losses and increasing hardship as people struggle to make ends meet. The restrictions on economic activity that are currently protecting us will eventually be lifted, but the economy…

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April 21, 2020 by Sean O'Leary
Work Sharing Could Help Both Businesses and Workers During the Coronavirus Downturn

With tens of thousands of West Virginians losing their jobs and filing for unemployment insurance benefits as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts the economy, there is renewed interest in "work sharing" programs. Work sharing gives businesses the option of reducing the hours and wages of their employees instead of laying them off. Workers with reduced wages…

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