Locales Across Georgia See Good Employment News; Big-Government and Union-Friendly States Less Well-Off

Georgia has a lower percentage of unemployed residents now than it did immediately before COVID-19 arrived, with some locales, like Warner Robins, experiencing their lowest jobless rates ever.

In Sept. 2020, around six months after the pandemic hit, the small city just south of Macon had a 5.3-percent jobless rate. Two months ago, Warner Robins’s rate fell to 2.9 percent, the city never before having seen such a small fraction of its residents out of work.

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Arizona Fully Recovers Pandemic Job Losses

Person using a laptop, pointing to the screen

More than 100% of private sector jobs in Arizona have been recovered since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the August employment report. 

 The Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity report showed that Arizona has recovered 325,500 private-sector jobs since April 2020, representing 101% of private-sector jobs lost. 

 Between July and August, Arizona’s unemployment fell by about 13,000 people. The unemployment rate dropped from 6.6% to 6.2%, marking the largest rate decline of the year. 

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Commentary: New Study Vindicates States that Canceled Expanded Unemployment Welfare Early

Debate over the welfare state is once again making headlines. On Monday, the expanded unemployment welfare system was finally allowed to expire after more than a year. Originally created as a “short-term” measure authorized for a few months in March 2020 then repeatedly extended, these benefits paid many of the unemployed more than their former jobs, with benefits reaching up to $25/hour in dozens of states.

Dozens of Republican-led states chose to end the benefits early. This week’s termination of enhanced benefits was in the Democrat-run states that maintained the expanded payouts, and with their lapse, the debate over whether these benefits were disincentivizing work was reignited.

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Boosted Unemployments Benefits End, Unclear Whether Michigan Labor Shortage Will Ease

About 442,196 unemployment claimants saw their pandemic unemployment assistance benefits end on Sept. 4, but it’s unclear if that will ease Michigan’s labor shortage.

The federal Pandemic Unemployment plus regular unemployment benefits let recipients receive up to $662 weekly.

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The Political Time Bomb for Biden Inside the Latest Jobless Numbers

Joe Biden walking with "American Jobs Plan" sign

While the unemployment rate for Americans dropped in August, there is a political time bomb buried in the statistics for President Joe Biden and a Democratic Party increasingly focused on equity: black joblessness shot up significantly.

In other words, the president who fondly boasts of a domestic policy promising to leave nobody behind has an economic recovery that is leaving a key Democratic constituency in worse shape.

“The rise in black unemployment in August is certainly troubling, considering their unemployment rates were already much higher than any other group,” Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said on Twitter.

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DeWine: Ohio’s Unemployment Loan Repayment Helpful for Businesses

Mike DeWine

Ohio businesses should profit as the state completes paying off nearly a $1.5 billion loan it needed to cover unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Mike DeWine said.

DeWine announced Ohio began the process of repaying the U.S. Treasury Department using federal money from the American Rescue Plan. The action is expected to be completed Thursday. If the loan is not paid by Monday, the federal government would have charged the state 2.777% interest, which would mean higher unemployment taxes for employers.

“I am not willing to let our employers bear the unemployment debt burden caused by the pandemic,” DeWine said Wednesday. “By repaying this loan in full, we ensure that Ohio businesses won’t see increases in their federal unemployment payroll taxes.”

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Weekly Jobless Claims Sink to 340,000, Hit New Pandemic Low

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims decreased to 340,000 in the week ending Aug. 28, as the economy continues to slowly recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics figure released Thursday represents a slight decrease in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending Aug. 21, when 354,000 new jobless claims were reported. That figure was revised from the 353,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.

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Many Pandemic Unemployed in Arizona Can Re-File for a Tax Rebate

Arizona taxpayers who received unemployment benefits in 2020 and filed their state tax return before the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) was enacted on March 11 can receive a new income tax refund.

That’s according to a Thursday announcement from the Arizona Department of Revenue. 

Congress passed the ARP to give communities money to address public health and economic recovery issues which resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Biden Administration Won’t Push Pandemic Unemployment Bonus Extension

The Biden administration signaled to Capitol Hill lawmakers Thursday that it will not support an extension of pandemic-related unemployment benefits.

President Joe Biden won’t advocate for an extension of the $300 unemployment bonus given to millions of out-of-work Americans on a weekly basis, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh wrote in a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal. The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, which was implemented in March 2020 and extended by Democrats’ recent American Rescue Plan, is set to expire in early September.

“As President Biden has said, the boost was always intended to be temporary and it is appropriate for that benefit boost to expire,” the secretaries wrote.

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More Than 21,000 Jobs Created Last Month in Ohio

Blue Collar worker with hard hat on

Ohio’s unemployment rate rose slightly in July, but the number of people in the workforce increased.

The state’s unemployment rate inched up from 5.2% in June to 5.4% in July, but the state’s labor force participation rose from 60.2% in June to 60.5% in July, a positive sign, said Rea Hederman Jr., executive director of the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute and vice president of policy.

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Joblessness Continues Downward Trend

Help wanted sign

The latest federal jobs report shows a dip in new unemployment claims, but those figures still remain higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The Department of Labor reported Thursday that 348,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, a decrease of 29,000 from the previous week. That number is the lowest since March 2020.

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Reported Hacking of Ohio’s Unemployment System Raises Concerns

An Ohio lawmaker wants the state to provide more answers quickly as to why personal information and online portal accounts were compromised on the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ website.

Rep. Jeff Crossman, D-Parma, wrote to ODJFS Director Matt Damschroder after witness testimony reported the hacking of personal, online portal accounts allowed bank routing information to be changed and unemployment funds to be redirected.

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Michigan’s Clean Energy Sector Recovering from Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Midwest clean energy job market hard, with more than 17,000 workers at one point filing for unemployment.

But the industry appears to be rebounding, according to an analysis of employment data released by the nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) and Clean Energy Trust.

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Minnesota’s Clean Energy Sector Recovering from Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Midwest clean energy job market hard, with more than 17,000 workers at one point filing for unemployment.

But the industry appears to be rebounding, according to an analysis of employment data released by the nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) and Clean Energy Trust.

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Commentary: American Armageddon

Americans are growing angrier by the day in a way different from prior sagebrush revolts such as the 1960s Silent Majority or Tea Party furor of over a decade ago.

The rage at the current status quo this time is not just fueled by conservatives. For the first time in their lives, all Americans of all classes and races are starting to fear a self-created apocalypse that threatens their families’ safety and the American way of life.

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Arizona Legislative Report Reveals ‘Extraordinary’ Fiscal Growth in State

A new report from the Arizona Legislature’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee shows Arizona is in great economic condition, breaking records. Revenues from taxes are high or better than projected, with significant gains expected in the future, and personal income is growing at the fastest pace since 1985. It comes after Arizona passed historic tax cuts, reducing the personal income tax to the lowest flat tax in the country at 2.5%. However, some of the rosy picture is due to COVID-19 relief.

Governor Doug Ducey issued a statement about the report, “It paints a picture of a state economy that has emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic not only in great shape, but poised to achieve even greater accomplishments in the years ahead. The ‘extraordinary growth’ Arizona saw in Fiscal Year 2021 is positive news for every Arizonan. We are leading the way in the nation’s economic recovery.”

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Commentary: The Elites’ Abuse of Average Americans

When I went to pick up my laundry last week, one of the employees, who had just finished folding my clothes, began weeping. “This is the last load I’ll ever do here,” she said in a choked voice. “They’re letting us all go.”

That one little stifled sob described more than just one woman bemoaning the loss of her job. In it was the relentless cry of the average American who is increasingly crushed by the ignorance of our elites.

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Georgia’s Unemployment Rate Nears Pre-Pandemic Levels

Woman checking out a business

Georgia’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia Department of Labor officials said this week.

The state’s unemployment rate in June was 4%; three times lower than what it was at the beginning of the pandemic in April 2020. Georgia’s unemployment rate was 3.1% in February 2020.

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Michigan Jobs 322,000 Under Pre-Pandemic Level

Detroit skyline at night

Sixteen months after the COVID-19 pandemic began, Michigan is still behind 322,000 jobs compared to pre-pandemic in Feb. 2020. 

Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 5% percent was unchanged in June, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

“Michigan’s labor market indicators were little changed in June,” Wayne Rourke, the associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, said in a statement. “The Michigan unemployment rate has been near 5.0 percent for five consecutive months. Payroll job counts in June were similar to March levels.”

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Florida Medicaid Enrollment Tops 4.8 Million, Surpassing Forecasted Growth

Florida State Capitol

Florida’s Medicaid enrollment increased by 1% in June with 48,468 low-income residents qualifying for subsidized health care, according to the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).

As of June 30, there were 4,846,412 low-income, elderly and disabled Floridians enrolled in Medicaid, an increase of more than 730,000 since June 2020, AHCA documents in its June enrollment report.

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New Unemployment Claims Jump 42 Percent in Tennessee

Nearly 9,400 new unemployment claims were filed in Tennessee last week; the highest weekly total since mid-April.

Only nine states had more new unemployment claims than Tennessee last week. The 9,376 new claims last week represented a 42% increase from the previous week’s 6,596 new claims.

The jump in new claims came after the state stopped its participation in the federal supplemental pandemic relief unemployment program, which gives those on unemployment an additional $300 weekly through the first week of September. The final two weeks of June were the lowest claims totals since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

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As Economy Recovers, Arizona Businesses Struggle to Fill Job Openings

Help wanted sign

Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data revealed that the nation hit a record high for job openings in April of 2021, yet employers around America are not receiving enough job applications to fill their available positions. 

Though the Bureau of Labor counted 9.3 million job openings in June, the unemployment rate remains at 5.8%, notwithstanding the millions of Americans not seeking employment. 

Express Employment Professionals, a staffing agency, suggested in a press release that stimulus payments, unemployment benefits, and recent tax refunds are deterring job applications as those on the hunt for employment have the option to hold out for jobs which meet their demands and goals. 

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Phoenix Ranked 40th Best Place to Live of 150 Biggest Metropolitan Areas

U.S. News & World Report issued its list this week of the annual best places to live, and Phoenix came in at No. 40 of the 150 most populous metro areas. The city jumped up 13 places from last year. The report emphasized Phoenix’s relatively low cost of living, warm weather, and thriving job market. The rankings are based on quality of life, job market, value of living, and desire of people to live there. 

Phoenix may have scored well this year due to a stable economy. Devon Thorsby, real estate editor at U.S. News, said in a news release, “It shouldn’t be a surprise that many metro areas that saw unemployment levels skyrocket in 2020 fell in the rankings, but those with greater employment stability tended to fare well.”

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Jobless Claims Increase to 373,000, Above Economists’ Predictions

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims increased to 373,000 last week as the economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics figure released Thursday represented a slight increase in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending June 26, when 371,000 new jobless claims were reported. That number was revised up from the 364,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.

Economists expected Thursday’s jobless claims number to come in around 350,000, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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Michigan Employment Numbers Pick Up Pace for State’s Pandemic Recovery

Blue Collar worker with hard hat on

Michigan’s recovery from the massive unemployment endured during the COVID-19 pandemic is among the fastest in the country, last week’s employment numbers indicate.

That assessment is according to a recently released WalletHub report, which ranked the state fifth nationwide for progress made between the previous week and the week of June 21, 2021, and fourth nationwide for the smallest increase in initial unemployment claims between the beginning of 2020 and the week of June 21, 2021.

Michigan was ranked 13th nationwide for quickest unemployment recovery since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

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Data: Leaving Federal Jobless Benefits Program Lowered Unemployment

A new report shows states that decided to turn away federal unemployment benefits have seen a drop in unemployment.

The Biden administration pushed through a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill earlier this year that included extending $300 weekly unemployment benefits for Americans in addition to unemployment benefits already provided by the states.

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New Tennessee Jobless Claims Hit Pandemic Low as State Ends Federal Supplemental Benefits Next Week

Help wanted sign

Tennessee had its lowest number of new unemployment claims last week since the impact of COVID-19 began in March 2020.

The state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported 4,736 new claims the week ending June 19. It’s the first time that total was less than 5,500 in a week since the week of March 14, 2020.

The previous low during that stretch was 5,789 for the week of Nov. 28, 2020.

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First Democratic State Will End Its Unemployment Benefits

John Bel Edwards

Louisiana will be the first Democratic-controlled state to roll back its $300 a week unemployment benefits enacted by federal programs.

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the bill Wednesday that stops the weekly payments on July 31, but raises Louisiana’s maximum jobless benefits to $275, starting in 2022, according to the legislation.

Louisiana is joined by 25 other Republican led states that have prematurely slashed the weekly pandemic benefits from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which were not set to expire until Sept. 6, 2021. Jobless claims were up 412,000 last week, according to the Department of Labor.

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Four States to Slash COVID-19 Unemployment Aid Saturday

Man in gray shirt, standing in a shop

Four states will be cutting pandemic unemployment increases three months early, ending the supplemental $300 in federal aid.

Alaska, Iowa, Missouri, and Mississippi will end pandemic-related unemployment relief on June 12. An additional 21 Republican-led states will slash federal aid before it expires on Sept. 6, according to Business Insider.

Conservatives continue to advocate an end to the increased benefits, saying they are no longer needed now that the pandemic is contained and speculating that the high payouts are discouraging would-be workers from returning.

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Job Searches Increased in Republican States Canceling Federal Unemployment Boost: Report

Person on laptop

Relative to the national trend, job searches temporarily increased in states that have announced they will no longer offer the pandemic-related federal unemployment boost, an economic report showed.

In states that are withdrawing from the federal unemployment program, interest in job postings increased 5%, according to the report released Thursday by job listings site Indeed. The increase was relative to a national average recorded during the final two weeks of April, before Republican governors began canceling the federal benefit.

“In May, job search activity on Indeed increased, relative to the national trend, in states that announced they would end federal [unemployment] benefits prematurely,” the Indeed report said.

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Commentary: Stop Calling It a ‘Labor Shortage.’ It’s an Incentive Shortage

Worker using a sledgehammer on railroad

It’s no secret that US businesses are struggling to find workers. Recent surveys have shown that small businesses are reporting record job openings.

Many have described the phenomenon as a labor shortage.

“Walk outside: labor shortage is the pervasive phenomenon,” economist Lawrence Summers recently observed at a conference hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

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South Carolina, Montana to Stop Providing Pandemic-Related Welfare

"Come in, we're open" business sign

The states of South Carolina and Montana have both decided in recent days to put an end to their handouts of federal unemployment benefits as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, in an effort to encourage residents to return to the workforce, as per CNN.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) said in his announcement that “incentives matter, and the vast expansion of federal unemployment benefits is now doing more harm than good. We need to incentivize Montanans to return to the workforce.” Instead, Governor Gianforte announced that the state government will be providing $1,200 checks as bonuses to every citizen who returns to work, using the state’s share of the recent $1.9 trillion stimulus package to pay for it.

In South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster (R-S.C.) announced on Thursday that the state would be ending their share of federal unemployment benefits, since “what was intended to be a short-term financial assistance for the vulnerable and displaced during the height of the pandemic has turned into a dangerous federal entitlement, incentivizing and paying workers to stay at home rather than encouraging them to return to the workplace.”

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U.S. Added Just 266,000 Jobs in April, Far Below Expectations

Worker in restaurant kitchen

The U.S. economy reported an increase of 266,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate rose slightly to 6.1%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 266,000 in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, and the number of unemployed persons ticked up to 9.8 million. Economists projected a million Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“The pieces are really coming together for a burst in activity,” Sarah House, senior economist for Wells Fargo’s Corporate and Investment Bank, told the WSJ. “We’re expecting to see the labor market recovery shift into an even faster gear with the April jobs report.”

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U.S. Added 916,000 Jobs in March as Economy Roars Back to Life

Blue Collar Worker

The U.S. economy reported an increase of 916,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate fell to 6%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 916,000 in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, and the number of unemployed persons fell to 9.7 million. Economists projected 675,000 Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“There’s a seismic shift going on in the U.S. economy,” Beth Ann Bovino, an economist at S&P Global, told the WSJ.

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Jobless Claims Plummet to 684,000 in Latest Sign of Economic Recovery

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims dropped to 684,000 last week as the economy continued to slowly recover from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics figure released Thursday represented a large decrease in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending March 13, when 781,000 new jobless claims were reported. That number was revised up from the 770,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.

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Ohio Shows Worst Unemployment Recovery in Nation

Ohio had the slowest weekly unemployment claims recovery in the nation last week, based on a new report from the personal finance website WalletHub.

The report compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia over three metrics: changes in claims during the latest week compared with 2019 and 2020 and changes in claims filed from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic versus the previous year.

Based on the data, Ohio ranked 51st out of 51 in recovery over the latest week and 37th since the pandemic began. Ohio ranked behind Colorado, West Virginia, Mississippi and Virginia in weekly recovery.

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Michigan’s New Unemployment Director Faces Questions from House Oversight Committee

Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Liza Estlund Olson was grilled Thursday morning by the state House Oversight Committee.

Committee members asked pointed questions about recent revelations relating to the departure of Olson’s predecessor, Steve Gray, in November. Gray received a $76,626 payout and another $9,246 in attorney fees and signed a confidentiality agreement with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration.

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Biden Signs $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill into Law

President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill that includes extended unemployment benefits, direct funding to states and municipalities, and $1,400 checks for most Americans.

“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving the people of this nation – working people, middle-class folks, people who built the country – a fighting chance, that’s what the essence of it is,” Biden said in the Oval Office before signing the bill.

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Lawmakers Say Legislation Would Curb Ohio Unemployment Fraud

Unemployment line

As legitimate and fraudulent unemployment claims rose over the past year, and with additional federal jobless assistance most likely on the way, Ohio lawmakers have introduced legislation they hope cracks down on system abuse.

If the bill passes and is signed into law, Ohioans would be required to provide proof of identification at a local employment office before state or pandemic unemployment assistances would be paid.

Senate Bill 116 outlines proof as either a driver’s license or any of the two documents required to obtain an Ohio driver’s license that contain the applicants name and address, including a birth certificate, Social Security card and proof of Ohio residency, legal presence or name change.

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’60 Minutes’ Chronicles Columbus’ Struggles During COVID Lockdowns

Sunday night, CBS’ “60 Minutes” chronicled the struggle in the city of Columbus, especially among young people, during the COVID-19 lockdowns that cost many their livelihoods.

The center of the segment was 23-year-old Courtney Yoder, who before the pandemic was homeless, and had almost saved enough money from working to be able to move off the streets before the birth of her first child. 

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Commentary: States Taxing PPP Loans to Cover for Bad Decisions is Bad Business

The biggest gap in understanding how business truly works exists between two distinct groups of people: Those who have made a payroll and those who haven’t. 

Anyone who has run a business – small or large – would only be glad to tell you that it is equal parts fulfilling and terrifying. 

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Governor Lee’s State of the State Address: a ‘Roaring’ Economy, Growth, and Investments in Local Communities

Despite the past year’s events, Governor Bill Lee had plenty of good news for Tennesseans in his State of the State Address. The General Assembly appeared to agree with the governor’s assessments – at many points throughout the address, their socially-distanced, masked audience rose to applaud Lee.

“Scripture has a lot to say about those crossroads and what to do on the heels of suffering. Where do we find promise in this season?” opened Lee. “The promise is found in perseverance which produces character that leads to hope. Tennesseans will know tonight that tragedy has no hold on who we are or where we are headed. Tragedy won’t define us, it won’t rob us of the opportunity that 2021 holds.”

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New Jobless Claims Decrease to 900,000, Economists Expected 925,000

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims decreased to 900,000 last week as the economy continued to suffer the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) figure released Thursday represented a decrease in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending Jan. 16, in which there were 965,000 new jobless claims reported. Roughly 16 million Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits, according to the BLS report Thursday.

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New Jobless Claims Decrease to 787,000, Economists Expected 828,000

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims decreased to 787,000 last week as the economy continued to suffer the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) figure released Thursday represented a decrease of new jobless claims compared to the week ending Dec. 26, in which there were 803,000 new jobless claims reported. Roughly 19.6 million Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits, according to the BLS report Thursday.

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Michigan Business, Political Leaders Question Whitmer Veto of $220 Million Unemployment Appropriation

Michigan business and political leaders are pondering exactly why Gov. Gretchen Whitmer chose to veto Tuesday a bipartisan effort to allocate $220 million for Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.

Although the governor signed the bipartisan relief bill, she exercised a line-time veto of a portion of the bill that would have appropriated $220 million to the UITF.

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New Jobless Claims Decrease to 803,000, Economists Expected 888,000

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims decreased to 803,000 last week as the economy continued to suffer the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) figure released Thursday represented a decrease of new jobless claims compared to the week ending Dec. 12, in which there were 885,000 new jobless claims reported. Roughly 20.4 million Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits, according to the BLS report Thursday.

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