Even as the economy reopens, Whatcom County residents are still losing jobs. Here’s why

The Bellingham Herald

Unemployment and jobless data will probably continue to bounce around quite a bit, said Hart Hodges, co-director at the Center for Economic and Business Research at Western Washington University. It will be volatile because the economic collapse was swift and various rescue programs will impact the data in different ways.

For example, some companies have kept their paying workers with the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Many of the businesses involved in that program had eight-week loans. With those loans expiring, some companies are still unable to rehire all their workers due to capacity restrictions in early reopening phases, leading to layoffs. The timing of the loans, how fast a business can reopen and how many employees are needed are some of the factors creating labor force volatility, Hodges said in an email.

Smaller manufacturing businesses are also trying to manage a lot of uncertainty, Hodges said, noting several companies have told him that demand has not been steady.

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Friday, June 19, 2020 - 1:26pm