person's hand filling out an unemployment compensation form

Laid off, furloughed, unemployed . . . these labels may, in essence, mean different things, but the nuances and subtleties of each variation feels alarmingly similar for the millions of Americans experiencing one or the other in the destructive wake of the coronavirus. Whether one’s employment has been terminated entirely or simply postponed until economic conditions are more stable or the need for a certain job is back on the uptake, the sense of panic and helplessness is a common theme. Questions running the gamut from “how long will I receive unemployment” to “will my job even be needed when this pandemic ends” are mounting and, unfortunately, largely unpredictable in answer.

Even in the midst of this uncertainty, there is good news and reason for hope. In April, the federal unemployment rate skyrocketed to 19.7%; however, the first decline in this rate since the onset of COVID-19 was reported for the month of May. With the phased re-opening of states that began last month, 2.5 million jobs were added to the economy and the unemployment rate dropped to 13.3%. While this is still an appallingly high percentage, it is progress. In the face of this resurgence, Americans may still be questioning the impact this may have on them personally. With approximately 30 million workers collecting unemployment benefits, this concern is not without merit.[2]

Enduring a season where only “essential” businesses remained open and massive corporations learned to function on a skeleton crew, the concern for the need of every position held before the pandemic is legitimate. For the employee, this is the waking nightmare. While no one can predict the future for all positions at every company, some experts are predicting that telecommuting will be the wave of the future to keep costs low and employment steady. Companies are choosing not to renew expensive leases on office spaces after experiencing the benefits of technological advances as it aids going to the office while never leaving your living room.

Still other experts are anticipating a reallocation of jobs. The focus of the American economy has shifted from leisure, tourism, and travel to delivery services, cleaning, and health care. For every ten jobs lost, three jobs are created. While Americans no longer have the luxury of traveling for vacations without fear of contracting this new virus, this very same hesitation has created an increased demand for services already in existence but often under-utilized. This new awareness of “essential” industries could be the short-term salvation for the economy.[3] As for the long-term impact of coronavirus on the economy, much is left to be determined with many questions still awaiting an answer.

If you are hurt on the job due to unsafe working conditions, seek legal counsel, as you may be entitled to workers’ compensation or other benefits. As we have since 1967, we will continue to protect the legal rights of our clients – those who are hurt on the job while working for Alabama employers.  If you have been injured on the job and want to learn your rights, please consider contacting the Nomberg Law Firm. Our office number is 205-930-6900.


[1] https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/cares-act-unemployment-benefits.html.

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/05/may-2020-jobs-report/.

[3] https://www.marketplace.org/2020/05/08/how-many-jobs-will-come-back-after-the-covid-19-pandemic-ends/.

Bernard D. Nomberg has been a lawyer for more than 20 years. Bernard has earned an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell’s peer-review rating. In 2019, Bernard was named a Super Lawyer for the 7th year in a row.

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Steve Altmann has been assisting consumers and business owners with bankruptcy matters for more than 27 years. 

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