Rainier Harris

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo claims that New York’s unemployment office is “collapsing” due to the influx of layoffs because of the coronavirus. New York is considered the epicenter of the COVID-19 with 272,000 confirmed cases and about 16,000 deaths statewide as of April 25. Currently, NY on PAUSE is set to end May 15th. 

New York alone accounts for almost 30% of the United States’ total cases. Cuomo told reporters during his daily press briefing that “The bad news is there was so many unemployment claims it has collapsed the unemployment system.” Cuomo continued, “”The good news is this, you’re going to get the same benefit anyway.”

NY’s Labor Department has reported mass layoffs since NY on PAUSE began late March. Mayor Bill de Blaisio has likened the economic collapse experienced under COVID-19 to the Great Depression. NYC has 150,000 confirmed cases and over 11,500 deaths as of April 25, making it one of the hardest hit cities in the country by the coronavirus pandemic. 

About 26 million people nationwide have filed unemployment claims, according to federal data released Thursday. The economic ramification of the coronavirus crisis has caused NYC to be projected to lose at least 475,000 jobs and $9.7 billion in tax revenue, per a Politico report. The crisis has made the Mayor de Blasio make proposed budget cuts totaling $1.3 billion such as $221 million in cuts to NYC education such as at the pre-K level. 

Big hits may also be taken to social services, transportation, and benefit programs. The cuts would also include $124 million to the summer youth employment program that employs about 75,000 youth citywide and $46 million to the Fair Fares program that provides half-priced Metro cards to poor commuters.

Council member Antonio Reynoso did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

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Photo by Erik Kantar