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Pandemic unemployment rates are finally going down, though millions are still jobless a year later


The latest job numbers show promise for a still-struggling economy. After a year of high unemployment rates, 20 states have reported declines.

North Carolina’s rate fell to 5.2%. At the same time, Indiana officials reported a drop to 3.9% among Hoosiers.

Georgia’s rate dropped for the 11th month in a row to 4.5%. That’s close to pre-pandemic levels, according to US News and World Report.

But for many people, the unemployment battle is still ongoing. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 2.4 million Americans have been out of work for at least 1 year. This number offers a snapshot of joblessness a year after lockdown went into effect.

However, the number of unemployed is likely higher. As CNBC notes, the bureau left out the people who quit their jobs because of health risks or childcare responsibilities.

The data also doesn’t show which workers were hit hardest by the lockdown orders. However, experts suggest that the leisure and hospitality industrywomenBIPOC, and low-wage earners are likely in the group.

Being jobless for 6 months or longer brings money worries. Loss of job-based health insurance is another concern. That’s why the federal government offers weekly $300 supplements to support those who lost their jobs. The supplement runs through Labor Day.

Sadly, not all workers qualify. Self-employed people and contract workers are ineligible, but may qualify for other assistance. (Learn more here).

Tips for overcoming the unemployment blues

Unemployment is a stressful time. Here are some activities that can help you make it through.

  • Stay connected. Whether it’s texting friends or video-chatting with family, positive social interactions improve mental health.
  • Keep moving. Exercise is a proven mood booster.
  • Step outside. Nature has positive effects on our mental and physical well-being.
  • Write about it. Getting your thoughts and feelings out on paper can often lead to reduced anxiety.
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