Economic impact of coronavirus still looms in New York

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Photo: Frank Franklin II / AP, FILEWhile New York City has made significant progress in the fight against the coronavirus, the economic impact of this battle is still looming.

The city’s unemployment rate soared to 18% at the height of the pandemic, and with part of the city’s economy still offline, many New Yorkers are still struggling to cope.

“One of the few things that helped was unemployment assistance from the federal government,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “People depended on those $ 600 checks, and now they’re gone. So that gives food for thought. It’s painful. ”

New Yorkers received a reprieve. Recipients of state unemployment benefits will receive an additional 20 weeks of assistance. But residents we spoke to said the federal help they received was the only thing keeping their heads above water.

“We the people are suffering,” said one New Yorker. “Because at the end of the day, all people want to do is eat and survive, and I honestly think $ 600 isn’t going to be enough. ”

De Blasio spoke at length about the stalemate in Washington over the latest stimulus bill at a press conference Thursday. Its passage could keep in place the additional funding that some New Yorkers rely on.

Some of those we spoke to believed those delaying the bill never intended to negotiate the issue.

“It works just as they want it to, to keep certain groups of people out,” said one New Yorker. “And by certain groups of people, I mean people of color. ”

Others are torn and can see both sides. They know people who just hang on, but see others who have taken extra unemployment help and abused it.

“What they should have done is make sure you use it for your bills or your food,” said one New Yorker. “Why are you just giving me the money?” For example, put it on a credit card where you can monitor where it is going. ”

Without any concrete commitment to additional assistance from the federal government, de Blasio encourages all eligible New Yorkers to see if they are eligible for additional assistance offered by the state. You can do this by going to labor.ny.gov.

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