What the End of Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Means for Your Hiring Plans

The recent expiration of federal unemployment benefits likely won’t ease the hiring crunch. It could make it worse. In the past few months, many business owners have grown to begrudge federal pandemic unemployment assistance, which they viewed as providing a disincentive for people to work and thus contributing to a dearth of would-be workers.

With the expiration of that benefit on September 4, 2021, business owners may like what happens next even less. While the jury is still out on the effect of this latest lapse in enhanced unemployment benefits, which clocked in at $300 a week, above what states pay out, history shows that there is a tradeoff.

When unemployment benefits are cut, in general, there is a slight increase in people looking for work, says Ben Zipperer, in economist for the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, but that number tends to be small. The largest result by far, he says, has been a massive decrease in spending among those who’ve lost benefits, which also cuts into a company’s bottom line, making it potentially harder to justify bringing on new hires.

It may also cut into the funds businesses can pay for certain positions, which doesn’t inspire people to get back into the workforce, especially during a pandemic when people more aware of the costs of working at a particular job relative to all the other things that matter in their lives.

“Many low-wage employers are having trouble finding workers to work at [modest] because those jobs are much more dangerous now, and the working conditions are much worse than before the pandemic,” says Zipperer.

In April of last year, the government kicked off its federal assistance program for unemployed Americans, providing as many as 7.5 million access to an extra $600 per week, an amount that was later reduced to $300 per week under the Biden Administration. Unemployment benefits were also offered to contract workers and the self-employed, who under normal circumstances do not qualify for assistance. Payments were extended beyond the traditional 26 weeks offered by most states.

While there are currently no immediate plans in Congress to reauthorize this relief, typical state unemployment benefits will continue, thanks in part to the $350 billion in federal assistance provided to the states under the American Rescue Plan. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government has delivered more than $800 billion in unemployment benefits.

If you’re looking for workers, Tom Sullivan, vice president of small business policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, recommends staying local before all else, and putting the word out as much as possible that you’re hiring. For instance, he notes that a restaurant owner he’s been in contact with found employees by telling customers about job openings directly.

“I think from a small business perspective, all hiring is local, and to that extent, I see remarkable leadership by small businesses trying to capitalize on one of their biggest strengths, and that is their local reputation,” says Sullivan.

By Brit Morse, Assistant editor, Inc.@britnmorse

Source: What the End of Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Means for Your Hiring Plans | Inc.com

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Unemployment Funds in Switzerland

 

US Jobs Report June 2021: Payrolls Jump 850,000, Unemployment Rate at 5.9%

The pace of U.S. hiring accelerated in June, with payrolls increasing by the most in 10 months, suggesting firms are having greater success recruiting workers to keep pace with the economy’s reopening.

Nonfarm payrolls jumped by 850,000 last month, bolstered by strong job gains in leisure and hospitality, a Labor Department report showed Friday. The unemployment rate edged up to 5.9% because more people voluntarily left their jobs and the number of job seekers rose.

The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists was for a 720,000 rise in June payrolls. “Things are picking up,” said Nick Bunker, an economist at the job-search company Indeed. “While labor supply may not be as responsive as some employers might like, they are adding jobs at an increasing rate.”

The gain in payrolls, while well above expectations, doesn’t markedly raise pressure on the Federal Reserve to pare monetary policy support for the economy. Even with the latest advance, U.S. payrolls are still 6.76 million below their pre-pandemic level.

Demand for labor remains robust as employers strive to keep pace with a firming economy, fueled by the lifting of restrictions on business and social activity, mass vaccinations and trillions of dollars in federal relief.

Read more: Black Men’s Labor Force Rises to Largest Ever Amid Recovery

At the same time, a limited supply of labor continues to beleaguer employers, with the number of Americans on payrolls still well below pre-pandemic levels.

Coronavirus concerns, child-care responsibilities and expanded unemployment benefits are all likely contributing to the record number of unfilled positions. Those factors should abate in the coming months though, supporting future hiring.

Wage growth is also picking up as businesses raise pay to attract candidates. The June jobs report showed a hefty 2.3% month-over-month increase in non-supervisory workers’ average hourly earnings in the leisure and hospitality industry. Overall average earnings rose 0.3% last month.

“The strength of our recovery is helping us flip the script,” Biden said in remarks Friday. “Instead of workers competing with each other for jobs that are scarce, employers are competing with each other to attract workers.”

The Labor Department’s figures showed a 343,000 increase in leisure and hospitality payrolls, a sector that’s taking longer to recover because of the pandemic.

Job growth last month was also bolstered by a 188,000 gain in government payrolls. State and local government education employment rose about 230,000, boosted by seasonal adjustments to offset the typical declines seen at the end of the school year.

Hiring was relatively broad-based in June, including other notable gains in business services and retail trade. However, construction payrolls dropped for a third straight month and manufacturing employment rose less than forecast.

“Most of the new jobs now being created are in sectors that were slammed by the pandemic, while companies in other industries are struggling to find available workers,” Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note.

Read More

The overall participation rate held steady and remained well short of pre-pandemic levels. The employment population ratio, or the share of the population that’s currently working, was also unchanged.

Digging Deeper

  • Average weekly hours decreased to 34.7 hours from 34.8
  • The participation rate for women age 25 to 54 rose by 0.4 percentage point; the rate among men in that age group also climbed
  • The number of Americans classified as long-term unemployed, or those who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more, increased by the most since November
  • The U-6 rate, also known as the underemployment rate, fell to a pandemic low of 9.8%. The broad measure includes those who are employed part-time for economic reasons and those who have stopped looking for a job because they are discouraged about their job prospects

Stocks opened higher and Treasury securities fluctuated after the report.

 

By and

Source: US Jobs Report June 2021: Payrolls Jump 850,000, Unemployment Rate at 5.9% – Bloomberg

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Critics:

The labor force is the actual number of people available for work and is the sum of the employed and the unemployed. The U.S. labor force reached a high of 164.6 million persons in February 2020, just at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The U.S. labor force has risen each year since 1960, with the exception of the period following the Great Recession, when it remained below 2008 levels from 2009-2011.

The labor force participation rate, LFPR (or economic activity rate, EAR), is the ratio between the labor force and the overall size of their cohort (national population of the same age range). Much as in other countries in the West, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. increased significantly during the later half of the 20th century, largely because of women entering the workplace in increasing numbers. Labor force participation has declined steadily since 2000, primarily because of the aging and retirement of the Baby Boom generation.

Analyzing labor force participation trends in the prime working age (25-54) cohort helps separate the impact of an aging population from other demographic factors (e.g., gender, race, and education) and government policies. The Congressional Budget Office explained in 2018 that higher educational attainment is correlated with higher labor force participation for workers aged 25–54. Prime-aged men tend to be out of the labor force because of disability, while a key reason for women is caring for family members.

The Congressional Budget Office explained in 2018 higher educational attainment is correlated with higher labor force participation. Prime-aged men tend to be out of the labor force due to disability, while a key reason for women is caring for family members. To the extent an aging population requires the assistance of prime-aged family members at home, this also presents a downward pressure on this cohort’s participation.

See also

New Unemployment Claims Rise For First Time In Nearly Two Months, But Number Of Americans Receiving Benefits Falls Sharply

1

Last week’s new unemployment claims were higher than the previous week’s revised claims of 375,000, which marked the lowest level during the pandemic, and much worse than the 360,000 claims economists were expecting.

The number of Americans filing claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which extends benefits to self-employed workers not eligible for traditional state programs, also jumped, hitting 118,025, according to the weekly data released Thursday.

Despite the rise in new weekly claims, the total number of Americans receiving any form of benefit fell sharply to 14.8 million in the week ending May 29, about 560,000 less than the week prior and much lower than the 30.2 million weekly claims filed in the comparable week last year.

Crucial Quote

“What the claims information doesn’t tell us is how much faster the job market will heal or where so-called full employment will ultimately be because the latest data tells the story of more than 9 million job openings and an equal number of officially unemployed,” Bankrate senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick wrote in a Thursday email, referring to the Federal Reserve’s goal of full employment, which would mean the only people unemployed would be those unable to work. “The easiest part of putting people back to work occurred from May through August of last year, when more than a million jobs per month were added to payrolls.”

Big Number

5.8%. That was the unemployment rate in May, according to the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report, down from 6.1% in April.

What To Watch For

On Wednesday, the Fed said it wants to see more progress in the labor market, which is still down 7.6 million jobs since the onset of the pandemic, before it moves to raise rates and tighten policy. The Fed has long insisted the economy is still fragile and in need of assistance due to the ongoing pandemic, but the central bank is likely to change its messaging in light of expected job growth by the end of this year. Officials on Wednesday said they are looking ahead to two interest rate hikes by the end of 2023—sooner than previously expected.

Key Background

At least 26 states—including Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina—have announced they will stop participating in the federal government’s supplemental unemployment benefits program, which provides an extra $300 a week to jobless Americans, by July 3. Some officials are claiming the payments disincentivize workers to find jobs, but in a note to clients late last month, JPMorgan economists said the early end to the unemployment insurance, which is set to expire in September, looks “tied to politics, not economics.”

They argued that many of the states that have announced the early reduction are not showing signs of a tight labor market or strong earnings growth—two factors used to justify ending the enhanced benefits. Meanwhile, some states have moved on legislation that would authorize one-time “signing bonuses” for unemployed residents who find work.

Further Reading

Jobless Claims Hit New Pandemic Low, But 15.3 Million Americans Are Still Receiving Unemployment Benefits

Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.

I’m a reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business journalism and economics while working for UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as a marketing and communications assistant. Before Forbes, I spent a summer reporting on the L.A. private sector for Los Angeles Business Journal and wrote about publicly traded North Carolina companies for NC Business News Wire. Reach out at jponciano@forbes.com. And follow me on Twitter @Jon_Ponciano

Source: New Unemployment Claims Rise For First Time In Nearly Two Months, But Number Of Americans Receiving Benefits Falls Sharply

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Critics:

Unemployment benefits, also called unemployment insurance, unemployment payment, unemployment compensation, or simply unemployment, are payments made by authorized bodies to unemployed people.

The first modern unemployment benefit scheme was introduced in the United Kingdom with the National Insurance Act 1911, under the Liberal Party government of H. H. Asquith. The popular measures were to combat the increasing influence of the Labour Party among the country’s working-class population.

The Act gave the British working classes a contributory system of insurance against illness and unemployment. It only applied to wage earners, however, and their families and the unwaged had to rely on other sources of support, if any.Key figures in the implementation of the Act included Robert Laurie Morant, and William Braithwaite.

Across the world, 72 countries offer a form of unemployment benefits. This includes all 37 OECD countries. Among OECD countries for a hypothetical 40-year-old unemployment benefit applicant, the US and Slovakia are the least generous for potential benefit duration lengths, with PBD of six months. More generous OECD countries are Sweden (35 months PBD) and Iceland (36 months PBD); in Belgium, the PBD is indefinite.

The Unemployment Insurance Act 1920 created the dole system of payments for unemployed workers in the United Kingdom. The dole system provided 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to over 11 million workers—practically the entire civilian working population except domestic service, farmworkers, railroad men, and civil servants.

Unemployment benefits were introduced in Germany in 1927, and in most European countries in the period after the Second World War with the expansion of the welfare state. Unemployment insurance in the United States originated in Wisconsin in 1932.Through the Social Security Act of 1935, the federal government of the United States effectively encouraged the individual states to adopt unemployment insurance plans.

Job sharing or work sharing and short time or short-time working refer to situations or systems in which employees agree to or are forced to accept a reduction in working time and pay. These can be based on individual agreements or on government programs in many countries that try to prevent unemployment. In these, employers have the option of reducing work hours to part-time for many employees instead of laying off some of them and retaining only full-time workers. For example, employees in 27 states of the United States can then receive unemployment payments for the hours they are no longer working.

International Labour Convention

International Labour Organization has adopted the Employment Promotion and Protection against Unemployment Convention, 1988 for promotion of employment against unemployment and social security including unemployment benefit.

See also

Bullish Jobs Prediction: Bank Of America Says Employment Will Return To Pre-Pandemic Levels By Year’s End

Daily Life in New York City Around The One-year Anniversary of The COVID-19 Shut Down

Following blockbuster data showing the U.S. added 917,000 jobs in March, analysts from Bank of America said they expect jobs to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year if that pace of improvement continues.

It’s a much more aggressive prediction than other experts, including the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department, have taken so far this year.

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell has said that while he’s optimistic that hiring will pick up in the coming months, it’s “not at all likely” the U.S. will reach maximum employment this year.

In a hearing before Congress last month, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she believes the economy may return to full employment next year.

Bank of America’s analysts said they expect “considerably more job creation” in the leisure and hospitality sectors—two areas hit hardest by the pandemic—in the months ahead as the U.S. economy reopens.

The growth Bank of America is predicting also comes with a risk, the analysts said: jobs could continue to accelerate beyond pre-pandemic levels right as trillions of dollars in stimulus spending kick in and the economy reopens in earnest.

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Employment Lawyer Alex Lucifero answers questions about Employee Rights When Businesses Reopen during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada. Can my employer discipline or fire me if I don’t feel safe returning to work when the business reopens? Can my employer recall me from work and put me in a different job, or give me different responsibilities? Can my employer recall younger employees before older employees, in an effort to protect the latter from COVID-19? Lucifero, an Ottawa employment lawyer and partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, joined Annette Goerner on CTV Ottawa Morning Live, where he answered those questions and more.

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All those factors could lead to dangerous overheating and inflation, which could destabilize an already fragile economic recovery and rattle investors.

Crucial Quote

“We saw the economy gain traction in March as the American Rescue Plan moved and got passed, bringing new hope to our country,” President Biden said during prepared remarks on Friday. Biden’s flagship pandemic relief bill authorized another $1.9 trillion in federal stimulus spending.

Big Number

9.7 million. That’s how many people are now unemployed across the country, according to the Labor Department, down from 22 million at the onset of the crisis last spring.

Key Background

Biden unveiled his next legislative effort, the $2+ trillion American Jobs Plan, earlier this week. That plan is designed to revitalize American infrastructure and manufacturing and  jumpstart the transition to clean energy and industry. The Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce estimated that the plan would create or save 15 million jobs over a decade and that three-quarters of the infrastructure jobs it creates would be for workers with no more than a high school diploma.

Further Reading

The U.S. Added 916,000 Jobs In March As Labor Market Comes Roaring Back (Forbes)

The Economy Doesn’t Need The Fed’s Easy Monetary Policy To Keep Booming, BofA Says (Forbes)

$1,400 Stimulus Checks Are Already Working As Credit, Debit Spending Surges 45%, BofA Says (Forbes)

Powell And Yellen Praise Aggressive Stimulus Spending, Acknowledge Incomplete Economic Recovery In Congressional Testimony (Forbes)

I’m a breaking news reporter for Forbes focusing on economic policy and capital markets. I completed my master’s degree in business and economic reporting at New York University. Before becoming a journalist, I worked as a paralegal specializing in corporate compliance.

Source: Bullish Jobs Prediction: Bank Of America Says Employment Will Return To Pre-Pandemic Levels By Year’s End.

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10.1 Million Americans Are Still Unemployed As Rate Ticks Down To 6.3%

The United States added just 49,000 jobs in January, according to data released by the Labor Department Friday—less than half the 100,000 added jobs economists were expecting as the pandemic continues to force layoffs in industries such as retail and hospitality despite gains in white-collar jobs.

The unemployment rate ticked down to 6.3% in January, from 6.7% in December; the metric hit a record high of 14.7% in April.

There are now 10.1 million unemployed people in the United States, compared to 10.7 million in December, the government said; job gains in professional and business services and education helped offset losses in industries including retail, healthcare, transportation, warehousing and hospitality.

Despite the decrease in unemployment, the number of permanent job losers increased to about 3.5 million in January, from 3.3 million in December—about three times prepandemic levels.

Another grim sign of a still-reeling job market, 400,000 Americans left the labor force last month, pushing the labor force participation rate slightly down to about 61.4%.

Of the 7 million people in America who want a job but are not actively seeking employment, about 4.7 million were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic, the Labor Department said.

January’s report continues to show stark differences in unemployment by race, with minority groups such as Black Americans and Hispanics facing above-average unemployment rates of 9.2% and 8.6%, respectively.

Crucial Quote

“After contracting in December, the labor market returned to growth in January, as some economic lockdowns eased, which allowed more businesses to stay open,” James McDonald, the CEO of Los Angeles-based Hercules Investments said Friday. “While it’s encouraging to see the economy added jobs in January, we are still far away from pre-Covid-19 employment levels.” Overall, there are still 10 million less jobs than there were before the pandemic.

Big Number

17.8 million. That’s how many people were still receiving some form of government unemployment benefit last week—shockingly high compared to the 2.1 million total claims filed in the comparable week in 2020, according to weekly data released Thursday. That’s higher than the number of unemployed Americans, due to a startling number of people who’ve dropped out of the labor force because they’re no longer looking for work.

 

Key Background

The Congressional Budget Office said Monday that it does not expect employment will reach prepandemic levels until 2024–echoing similar estimates from economists predicting that the labor market recovery will severely lag the broader economic recovery in the years to come. Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert S. Kaplan said Thursday that the next two to three months will remain challenging for the economy even though widespread vaccination efforts should help curb some of the downside economic risks of increased Covid-19 infections. 

Tangent

After an all-night session, the Senate narrowly approved a budget resolution Friday morning that will allow Democrats to move forward on President Joe Biden’s lofty $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal without any Republican backing. It’s likely the package will need to be trimmed down to satisfy some of the more conservative Democrats, but experts, including Vital Knowledge Media Founder Adam Crisafulli, still estimate the resulting bill could total as much as $1.7 trillion and hit President Biden’s desk before the current enhanced federal unemployment benefits expire on March 14. Biden’s plan extends the enhanced benefits of $400 per week through September.

Further Reading

Senate Approves Budget Resolution Paving The Way For Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Plan (Forbes)

Another 779,000 Americans Filed For Unemployment Last Week (Forbes) Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip

Jonathan Ponciano

Jonathan Ponciano

I’m a reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business journalism and economics while working for UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as a marketing and communications assistant. Before Forbes, I spent a summer reporting on the L.A. private sector for Los Angeles Business Journal and wrote about publicly traded North Carolina companies for NC Business News Wire. Reach out at jponciano@forbes.com.

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NBC News 5.13M subscribers NBC News’ Steve Patterson shares the stories of Kanisha Mayweather, Stacy Davis and Victor Patterson — three of the millions of unemployed Americans who have faced the pandemic with faith and perseverance since March.» Subscribe to NBC News: http://nbcnews.to/SubscribeToNBC​ » Watch more NBC video: http://bit.ly/MoreNBCNews​ NBC News is a leading source of global news and information. Here you will find clips from NBC Nightly News, Meet The Press, and original digital videos. Subscribe to our channel for news stories, technology, politics, health, entertainment, science, business, and exclusive NBC investigations. Connect with NBC News Online! Visit NBCNews.Com: http://nbcnews.to/ReadNBC​ Find NBC News on Facebook: http://nbcnews.to/LikeNBC​ Follow NBC News on Twitter: http://nbcnews.to/FollowNBC​ Follow NBC News on Instagram: http://nbcnews.to/InstaNBC​ Unemployed Americans Still Struggling During pandemic: ‘I Do A Lot Of Praying’ | NBC Nightly News

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Unemployment Insurance For Self Employed Individuals

In the midst of recent economic hardship, the federal government has bolstered the financial assistance offered to businesses and improved the benefits of unemployment insurance for self-employed individuals. If you’re self-employed and wondering what aid you qualify for, we’ll help guide you through the process and what you need to know.

What is unemployment insurance?

Unemployment insurance is a government program that provides financial assistance to those who are out of work through no fault of their own. When people say they’re “collecting unemployment,” they’re really referring to collecting unemployment insurance payments.

This program is funded by the federal and state governments, with the federal authorities setting the program’s general guidelines. However, state governments are in charge of administering the program. This allows states to decide additional eligibility requirements and to set their own restrictions on how much and for how long residents can receive their benefits.

In the midst of recent economic hardship, the federal government has bolstered the financial assistance offered to businesses and improved the benefits of unemployment insurance for self-employed individuals. If you’re self-employed and wondering what aid you qualify for, we’ll help guide you through the process and what you need to know.

What is unemployment insurance?

Unemployment insurance is a government program that provides financial assistance to those who are out of work through no fault of their own. When people say they’re “collecting unemployment,” they’re really referring to collecting unemployment insurance payments.

This program is funded by the federal and state governments, with the federal authorities setting the program’s general guidelines. However, state governments are in charge of administering the program. This allows states to decide additional eligibility requirements and to set their own restrictions on how much and for how long residents can receive their benefits.

In general, states review and average an employee’s earnings over the past several weeks and calculate each person’s benefit amount based on a percentage of that average (typically around 50%).

For example, if your state’s benefit rate is 47%, then your state might

  • average your weekly wage from the past 52 weeks and then
  • calculate a weekly benefit to you based on 47% of that average.

At this rate,

  • if your average wage for the past 52 weeks is $650 per week, then
  • you would receive $305.50 per week in unemployment insurance during each week that you remain eligible for the benefit.

Are unemployment insurance payments taxable?

Yes. You’ll report your income from unemployment insurance on your income tax return. That amount will be subject to federal income taxes and state income taxes for some states. When setting up your benefit checks with your state, you may choose to have taxes withheld from your payment.

How do you know if you qualify for unemployment insurance benefits?

There are three main eligibility requirements for unemployment insurance benefits.

The first is that you’re “unemployed through no fault of your own” as defined by the law in your state. This typically means that you didn’t quit your job but rather that you lost your job because of a lack of available work.

  • There are some exceptions to this.
  • Check with your state’s unemployment office on the specific details for your state.

The second main eligibility requirement is that you have earned a minimum amount of wages and worked for a minimum amount of time at your job. Whether or not you have maintained employment for consecutive quarters in the previous year also plays a part in this.

  • Each state sets these minimums.
  • All states look at your recent work history and earnings during the previous year. They typically call this your “base period.”

The third main eligibility requirement in most states is that you’re able and available to work and are actively seeking employment. In most places, this means you must engage in a good faith search for employment.

  • States often set a number of how many searches and employment contacts you must complete per week.
  • Additionally, if you’re offered suitable employment, you must accept it.
  • You’ll also need to continuously file weekly or biweekly claims to maintain your eligibility.

Are there changes to unemployment insurance benefits for self-employed individuals due to the pandemic?

Yes. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act included Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that allows for benefits to some workers who typically wouldn’t qualify for unemployment insurance. Self-employed workers may qualify under PUA, including

If you’re in this group, you can claim up to 39 weeks of benefits, and those benefits are available retroactively beginning with any weeks of unemployment on or after January 27, 2020.

  • As with typical unemployment insurance, how much you’ll receive varies by state.
  • Unless new legislation is passed, unemployment insurance for self-employed individuals will expire on December 31, 2020.

Additionally, under the CARES Act, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PUEC) program allows states to extend unemployment benefits for up to 13 weeks. This legislation also provides flexibility to states in determining what is considered “actively seeking work.” You don’t have to meet the same requirements to qualify if you’re unable to search for work because of:

  • Quarantining,
  • restrictions or
  • illness due to the pandemic.

These benefits will also expire on December 31, 2020.

Can you qualify for unemployment benefits if you’ve been furloughed?

During normal times, furloughed workers often don’t qualify for unemployment insurance. However, if you were furloughed because of the coronavirus, you likely qualify for unemployment benefits through the CARES Act.

How do you apply for unemployment benefits?

Unemployment benefits are requested through the same state agencies as before the pandemic. In most states, the application is simple and can be completed online, over the phone or in person.

Unemployment benefits can be a great help to those currently out of work. If you’re self-employed and needing assistance, there’s no harm in applying for this government-funded relief.

TurboTax is here to help you navigate the different COVID-19 relief programs that you might be eligible for. Get up to date information, tax advice and tools to help you understand what coronavirus relief means to you empowering you to get more money in your pocket in this time of need at our Self-Employed and Small Business Coronavirus Relief Center.

For more tax tips in 5 minutes or less, subscribe to the Turbo Tips podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and iHeartRadio

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A Scary Number of Retail Companies are Facing Bankruptcy Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

The sign outside the J.C. Penney store is seen in Westminster, Colorado February 20, 2009. Department store operator J.C. Penney Co Inc posted a 51 percent drop in fourth quarter profit on Friday, and said its loss in the current quarter would be deeper than Wall Street estimates as shoppers hold off on spending. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES) – GM1E52L0AQI01

The retail death march persists. Somewhat under-the-radar, Italian luxury goods retailer Furla filed for Chapter 11 on Friday after being hit hard from the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is looking to close stores and cut debt as part of the reorganization. The retailer, founded in 1927, plans to emerge from bankruptcy with a greater focus on e-commerce.

Furla joins a long list of well-known retailers that have buckled during the health crisis.

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New York City-based department store chain Century 21 filed for bankruptcy in September and said that it will shut 13 locations that for years served up deep discounts on designer wares. The company pinned the blame on the COVID-19 pandemic and uncooperative insurers who were supposed to help provide the company with fiscal support during tough times.

Bankrupt J.C. Penney, meanwhile, received a bailout in September from landlords Simon Property Group and Brookfield. The consortium valued the century old department store — which went bust back in May — at some $1.75 billion. A total of 650 stores will stay open, down from the more than 1,000 pre-pandemic.

“It takes a long time to kill a retailer,” Forrester retail analyst Sucharita Kodali told Yahoo Finance Live “So as long as they are able to pay their bills, which if they have an owner they will — they can absolutely be around. But that doesn’t mean death for J.C. Penney is totally off the table.”

Kodali added that J.C. Penney “may not be a great customer experience, but at least it’s alive and open. They can figure out what the plan B over five to ten years could be for that space.”

‘That’s a scary number’

States have allowed malls and retailers to reopen, but the situation remains precarious as COVID-19 infections are now back on the rise. Consequently, it’s reasonable to expect malls and stores are shutdown — or shopping times restricted —again before year end. That will raise the prospect of a fresh wave of bankruptcies in early 2021 after what could be a lackluster holiday shopping season.

“I think many of these companies will file [for bankruptcy], and it’s not a handful. It’s several dozen. And that’s a scary number,” Stifel managing director Michael Kollender, who leads the consumer and retail investment banking group for the firm, told Yahoo Finance. “It’s far more than we have seen over the last several years combined.”

Kollender and his colleague James Doak at Miller Buckfire — Stifel’s restructuring arm, where Doak is co-head — have worked on dozens of consumer and retail bankruptcies in recent years, including Aeropostale, Gymboree and Things Remembered.

“We will see some major chains go away and not come back,” Kollender added. “These are chains that were struggling before the situation. COVID-19 will put them over the ledge.”

The pandemic has toppled several household names this year. Stein Mart, a 112-year-old discounter, filed for bankruptcy in early August and will look to close most of its nearly 300 stores. The company cited significant financial stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic for its decision.

August also saw Lord & Taylor — the oldest U.S. department store founded in 1826 — file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after being crippled by COVID-19 store closures. The company was purchased for $100 million from Hudson’s Bay by fashion startup Le Tote in 2019. Le Tote also filed for Chapter 11.

Men’s Wearhouse-owned Tailored Brands also filed for Chapter 11 in August, too. The company said it had received $500 million in debtor-in-possession financing from existing lenders.

Meantime, Ascena Retail Group, the owner of Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant, finally filed for bankruptcy protection in late July. The company, which has been circling the bowl for years, will look to the courts to help it shave $1 billion in debt. But it’s likely the retailer will be far slimmer post bankruptcy than its current 2,800 store count.

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Regional retailer Paper Store filed for Chapter 11 in July as well. The operator of 86 stationary and card stores in the Northeast said it’s looking for a buyer.

New York & Co. parent company RTW Retailwinds also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July after years of growing irrelevance in malls. The women’s apparel company — which changed its name to the bizarre RTW Retailwinds as part of a rebranding in 2018 — operates 378 outlet and and mall-based stores across 32 states. It may close all of its stores as part of the filing.

“The combined effects of a challenging retail environment coupled with the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have caused significant financial distress on our business, and we expect it to continue to do so in the future. As a result, we believe that a restructuring of our liabilities and a potential sale of the business or portions of the business is the best path forward to unlock value. I would like to thank all of our associates, customers, and business partners for their dedication and continued support through these unprecedented times,” said RTW Retailwinds CEO Sheamus Toal in a statement.

And the list of now defunct retailers is almost endless.

Brooks Brothers filed for bankruptcy in July. It has been dealt a twin blow to its finance from closed malls and a shift away from preppy clothing. The company would up being sold to the duo of Authentic Brands Group and Simon Property Group for $325 million.

GNC has walked through death’s door after knocking on it for years. The 85-year-old vitamin seller filed for bankruptcy in late June after years of battling waning sales and a debt load north of $1 billion. GNC plans to shutter up to 1,200 stores across the U.S. The company operates more than 5,800 stores.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  A person wears a protective face mask outside the GNC store as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on August 7, 2020 in New York City. The fourth phase allows outdoor arts and entertainment, sporting events without fans and media production. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
A person wears a protective face mask outside the GNC store as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on August 7, 2020 in New York City. (Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images)

“Some companies are just not going to survive this,” says McGrail, who is the COO of one of the world’s largest asset disposition and valuation firms, Tiger Capital Group. Its McGrail’s team — which often includes store associates of a stricken retailer — that hangs the “Everything must go” signs and works to fetch top dollar on fixtures and other inventory.

Such is the current life for McGrail and others in the retail bankruptcy and restructuring fields. In talking to a host of experts, one thing is abundantly clear: more retail bankruptcies are very likely over the next twelve months.

Even for those retailers emerging from bankruptcy, vendors are likely to be tepid to ship them product while at the same time tightening payment terms as the pandemic rages on.

That one-two punch usually kills a wounded retailer for good.

Then there is the general uncertainty on how people will view going back to the mall in the new normal of social distancing. That fog of war is poised to persist well beyond the coming holiday season.

“We are in a retail tsunami,” Kollender said.

This story was originally published on June 24, 2020, and has been updated.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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6 Recruiter Tips To Getting Your Resume Seen And Landing An Interview

According to the career website, Ladders, recruiters spend only 7.4 seconds reviewing a resume. Meaning, you as a job seeker have less than 8 seconds to make an impression on them. Most job seekers want to share everything about themselves in their resume, therefore, their resume becomes cluttered and overwhelming for the recruiter. Moreover, the resume lacks a clear purpose making the recruiter confused about how a candidate’s skills will translate to the role in which they’re applying.

The career site discovered the resumes where recruiters spent the most time and focus had

  • an overview or mission statement at the top of the first page
  • a clear flow with title headers and marked sections supported by bulleted lists of accomplishments
  • relevant keywords presented in context throughout the resume

Here are six recruiter tips you can implement right away to get your resume seen and land a job.

Keep It Stupid Simple (K.I.S.S.) Recommended For You

Most of the time, the people hiring for the role have never worked in that position. For this reason, keep your resume simple and make sure it’s easily understood since they’ll be the ones reading it. To get noticed at a glance, Ben Lamarche, general manager of Lock Search Group, emphasized, “be sure to bullet point your most marketable skills and relevant management experiences. Don’t go into so much detail that a reader can’t form a quick mental picture of you as a candidate.”

Deepak Shukla, founder of Pearl Lemon, an SEO agency, said “cut out any fluff or experiences that are not relevant to the position. This puts greater emphasis on the information that actually matters to the recruiter.” Also, try to keep your resume to one page, but no more than two pages. David Reitman, Esq., owner of DLR Associates Recruiting, recommended to “focus on the past 5-10 years.” He said, “anything further in the past should simply be mentioned with no more than one line describing job duties.” Avoid repeating information. If your last job was similar to your current job, don’t restate everything you did; instead say, “duties substantially similar to..”

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Utilize The Words In The Job Description

Job seekers often complain about not getting their resume past the applicant tracking system (ATS). The reason being is because the ATS looks for specific keywords that are already in the job description. As a job seeker, it’s important to tailor your resume to include those keywords that are relevant to your experience.

Yaffa Grace, founder of The Essential Resume, advises her clients to take a yellow highlighter and highlight words that come up multiple times in the job description. She said, make sure you only use those keywords if you have the experience reflected in that keyword. You can do this by supporting those keywords with professional experiences that demonstrate you’re knowledgable. The worst thing you could do is lie about or exaggerate your experience. The interview will uncover those lies. If the interview doesn’t, your performance on the job surely will.

Lastly, if you’re going to claim you are detail oriented, make sure to review your resume for mistakes and have someone else look it over too. The quickest way to land in the rejected pile is by contradicting what you claim.

Tailor Your Resume To The Position

Most job seekers have multiple resumes. Each resume is tailored specifically for the role in which they’re applying by using the keywords in that job description. If you have a broad background and are applying for various types of positions, it’s important you tailor your resume to speak to the skills of those positions. For example, if you’re applying to a developer position, you would want to move non-relevant positions to “Additional Experience”, personalize your summary and skills section as well as the bullet points from your current and previous positions.

Chris Waltenbaugh, payment processing expert at Payment Depot, explained “for me, the resumes that stand out are the ones that show the person has taken time to think about the position in which they’re applying and carefully crafted a document that demonstrates their understanding and what’s unique about them that will bring value to the job.”

Focus On Specific Accomplishments Rather Than Vague Responsibilities

Rather than listing out generic bullet points from the job description, use specific examples that demonstrates what you’ve accomplished not just what you did. For example, using a statement such as “Increased employee retention rate by 45%” is a stronger statement than “Improved the employee experience.” It not only hones in on a specific outcome but it demonstrates your success that can benefit the company in which you’re applying.

Petra Odak, chief marketing officer at Better Proposals, shared “one thing that is guaranteed to get my attention when I’m hiring, is samples. We hired for a lot of marketing positions recently and the candidates that stood out are those that supplied a sample of their work. Be it writing, design, marketing copy or something else. Those that went the extra mile and showed us what they can do are the ones that got an interview.” She added, “everyone can write a good resume and cover letter, but a sample shows that you can actually do the work.”

Take It To The Next Level

Grabbing a recruiters attention requires additional effort. Christy Noel, career expert, marketing executive and author of Your Personal Career Coach, expressed, “it’s not enough to solely rely on the job board or portal to submit your application. You should network to find someone who knows a person within the company that can be sent your resume to forward to the recruiter or hiring manager.” She explained “referrals have a 50% likelihood of getting an interview, non-referrals only have a 3% likelihood, so getting that person to submit your resume is critical to your job search.” LinkedIn is invaluable when it comes to networking with people at the company. Websites such as Rocket Reach and hunter.io help to find the email of specific people within the organization so you can send your resume and cover letter directly to them.

Another way to stand out is by being original in your approach. Andrew Taylor, director of Net Lawman, said “you can make your resume stand out by creating an infographic and including a video for your cover letter.”

Craft A Personalized Cover Letter

A personalized cover letter shows the employer you’re serious about the position in which you’re applying. Lawrence Calman-Grimsdale, marketing intelligence assistant at Jump, asserted, “it’s infinitely better to apply to three jobs with tailored cover letters than 100 without.” A cover letter should be well organized, concise and explain specific points from your resume that are relevant to the position. Furthermore, if you have gaps on your resume, make sure to give a brief explanation (health concerns, caring for a sick parent, etc…) so the recruiter isn’t left wondering.

To start, make sure to address the cover letter to the hiring manager in the organization. From there, each paragraph should be broken down into how you found the role and what made you want to apply, expanding on specific parts of your background that are relevant to the role and finally, a wrap up stating your excitement for the role, how they can contact you and thanking them for their time. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website

Heidi Lynne Kurter

Heidi Lynne Kurter

I’m a Leadership Coach & Workplace Culture Consultant at Heidi Lynne Consulting helping individuals and organizations gain the confidence to become better leaders for themselves and their teams. As a consultant, I deliver and implement strategies to develop current talent and create impactful and engaging employee experiences. Companies hire me to to speak, coach, consult and train their teams and organizations of all sizes. I’ve gained a breadth of knowledge working internationally in Europe, America and Asia. I use my global expertise to provide virtual and in-person consulting and leadership coaching to the students at Babson College, Ivy League students and my global network. I’m a black belt in Six Sigma, former Society of Human Resources (SHRM) President and domestic violence mentor. Learn more at http://www.heidilynneco.com or get in touch at Heidi@heidilynneco.com.

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There has never been a more challenging time to be a recruiter than right now. The talent market is struggling and the misunderstanding between candidates and employers is getting worse and worse. There are many new skills that you need as a recruiter to ensure that you are doing your job correctly and excelling within your own career. Join Anne, Recruiter’s Marketing Whiz, as she points out the 5 skills all recruiters must have today. These pointers will not only help recruiters better themselves within their industry, but it will also show employers what they should be looking for in recruiters. Check out our website and Twitter for more career tips and tricks from Recruiter: https://www.recruiter.com/https://twitter.com/RecruiterDotCom

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Combating Unemployment Fraud With Biometrics And Common Sense

Some 837,000 Americans filed initial claims for unemployment insurance last week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. While this reflects a slight decrease from the previous week, initial jobless claims are still stuck above the highest levels reached in the 2008-2009 Great Recession, according to The Associated Press. This number doesn’t paint a completely accurate picture because California, which accounts for more than a quarter of the country’s aid applications, provided the same figure it did the previous week.

Why? Because the State of California Employment Development Department has stopped accepting new jobless claims during a two-week reset period so it can tackle a backlog of 600,000 claims and implement some much-needed anti-fraud technology.

While the U.S. labor market continues to grapple with the effects of COVID-19, government agencies providing unemployment benefits are also grappling with a spike of fraudulent claims related to the pandemic by people using stolen identities.

Using stolen data to steal benefits

Earlier this year the FBI reported that U.S. citizens from several states have been victimized by criminal actors using stolen personally identifiable information (PII) to submit fraudulent unemployment insurance claims online. The ability to obtain PII is nothing new — fraudsters were doing this well before the onset of the pandemic.

Between data breaches, the dark web, phishing attacks, social engineering and impersonation scams, it’s easy for cybercriminals to get their hands on names, Social Security numbers, phone numbers and home addresses. They then have enough information to pose as their victim and file a fraudulent claim online with the ultimate goal of gaining control of communications and payments.

Victims of unemployment insurance theft often don’t know they’ve been targeted until much later, when they try to file their own claim for unemployment insurance or receive a notification from the state unemployment insurance agency. In some cases, this correspondence comes in the form of a physical letter containing the full Social Security number or other valuable PII of the person being defrauded. If the fraudster has already changed the mailing address tied to the claim, the government is unintentionally putting the victim at higher risk for continued identity theft.

Fighting fraud with digital identity verification

It’s clear that the current process of allowing people to file unemployment claims using readily available information isn’t working because there is no way to determine whether someone filing the claim is who they say they are. Data-centric approaches alone do not meet Gartner’s definition of identity proofing because there is no test that the individual claiming the identity is, in fact, the authentic possessor of that identity. The identity assurance achieved with this capability used in isolation is relatively low, relying only on “something you-but-not-only-you know.”

Implementing a biometric-based identity verification process is key to thwarting unemployment fraud amid the pandemic and beyond. Government agencies responsible for each state’s unemployment benefits program need to consider high-assurance solutions with the following four requirements: 

  1. Government-issued ID: Asking for a photo of a driver’s license or passport when someone files a new claim establishes the individual’s real-world identity, and AI-powered software can quickly determine if the ID document is real.
  2. Real-time selfie: Determine if the person possessing the ID is who they claim to be. Requiring a selfie also acts as a strong deterrent to fraudsters who generally do not want to show their face while committing a crime.
  3. Liveness detection: Ensure the individual is physically present and not a spoof by incorporating liveness checks which can sniff out if someone is using a video or a picture of a picture instead of a valid selfie. 
  4. Ongoing biometric authentication: Require the user to capture a new selfie which creates a fresh biometric that is instantly compared to the original selfie to confirm the account owner is the actual person logging into the account.

By implementing advanced digital identity verification, government agencies can adapt to the modern fraud landscape and prevent cybercriminals from stealing unemployment benefits from the citizens who truly need them, while making it easier and more secure for legitimate users to submit claims and access their accounts.

Robert Prigge

Robert Prigge

Robert is responsible for all aspects of Jumio’s business and strategy. Specializing in security and enterprise business, he held C-level or senior management positions at Infrascale, Secure Computing, McAfee, Quest Software, Sterling Commerce and IBM.

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Entrepreneurs Can Help Fix The Unemployment Crisis For Disabled Communities

Over the past two weeks I’ve spent time with two individuals who represent the largest minority group in the United States: Americans with disabilities. The first, Ric Nelson, is a 37-year-old entrepreneur in Anchorage Alaska. Nelson has cerebral palsy and requires full-time assistance to manage his physical needs. Nelson is academically brilliant and highly energized to advance the interests of the disabled.

He graduated in the top 10 percent of his high school class and, against high odds, used the scholarship he obtained to secure associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in Small Business Management and Business Administration. Most recently, he completed a master’s degree in Public Administration. 

Nelson serves on multiple boards and after eight years of service became chair of the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education (GCDSE) for Alaska, where he is currently employed as Employment Program Coordinator. I learned from my discussion with Nelson the full extent of the plight of disabled employees. 

Related: The Best Funding Resources for Disabled Entrepreneurs

The National Council on Disabilities (NCD) estimates between 40 and 57 million people in the U.S. are disabled. As of 2018, only 18 percent were employed. Statistics from the Census Bureau show the sum inched up slightly in 2019 but reached only 19.3 percent even prior to the global health crisis. 

Not surprisingly, the COVID recession has been disproportionately hard for the disabled, who’ve lost nearly one million U.S. jobs between March and May of this year. Complicating factors include jobs ended due to the extra risk of immunocompromised conditions and the predominance of disabled workers in lower-level positions in industries such as food and service that have been most heavily hit. Concerns for the ability to comply with ADA (American Disability Act) requirements in work-from-home arrangements have also been a factor. Funding for private organizations to support the disabled have suffered as well. 

However, Nelson notes that entrepreneurship could be an answer to some of these needs. 

One disabled entrepreneur’s story

Christopher Casson agrees. Casson, who just turned 35, is an event and commercial photographer who is on the autistic spectrum. Instead of viewing his traits as a hindrance, he considers them a gift that gives him an unusually high level of focus and allows him to help other employees and entrepreneurs as an activist for disability needs. 

In 2018, Casson launched the Autism To ARTism movement to eliminate negative stigma and emphasize strengths and raise awareness for the challenges autistic adults face, as current systems tend to leave them forgotten after high school.  After completing associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in graphic design and computer animation, Casson interned with a wedding photography studio and in 2019 established Christopher Casson Photography, LLC. 

Related: Freelancers Will Soon Be Able to Buy Short-Term Disability Insurance Through This Startup

I met Casson while serving as a coach for the Next Impactor competition that culminated in Chicago in August 2019. Casson was the fourth place winner and also received the Video Vanguard award for a video challenge he’d led. 

Six months ago, Casson’s business was ready for launch in March 2020, and then, of course, we all know what happened next. The events industry that had been his primary target disappeared on a dime. 

On the advice of an advisor, Casson is now hoping to shift to real estate photography, which is showing steady and even increasing demand. Is this a good idea? 

To find out, I interviewed Michael Schoenfeld, a 35-year experienced photographer and cinematographer at the helm of Michael Schoenfeld Studio in Salt Lake City. Schoenfeld is the photographer my agency has used for our own needs and recommended to clients. Schoenfeld has received a number of awards, including multiple Graphis Platinum awards, and was selected as a judge of the Graphis 2020 New talent Annual this year.

Of most interest to me, however, he successfully pivoted from individual photographer to program head of a giant initiative for one of the nation’s top three self-storage companies 1,600 U.S. sites. The company wanted a high-level library of photographs at each U.S. site. When we last spoke about the project in 2018, he was in the midst of bidding, hiring, and organizing an enterprise project levels beyond anything he’d encountered in his photographic career. 

“How did it go?” I asked. “And what would be your words of advice to an emerging photographer like Casson?” 

An expert weighs in

Schoenfeld was candid. He noted that by and large, photographers enter their industry based on interest and talents, but with virtually zero experience in managing a business or succeeding as an entrepreneur. Failure rates are dismal. Of those who survive, many are capable of producing only $18-20,000 a year.

“Find a way to get some entrepreneurial training early,” he said. “Work you’re a** off. That’s my biggest secret.” 

In his own case, Schoenfeld’s enterprise project for his giant and publicly-traded client was every bit as challenging as he believed it would be. The program tested his ability to plan and execute as a program director. He rightly anticipated the variance of abilities in the regional photographers he commissioned was less an issue than the process and rules for tweaking the results to make them consistent across all states.

While he met the deadlines and executed properly in year one, he quickly determined success would come more readily in years two and three by engaging a smaller field of photographers who were tested and proven and assigning a larger regional territory to each. The strategy succeeded, as the program is now in its third year and on schedule for successful 2020 completion in spite of the interruptions from the health crisis. 

Similarly, he noted that the region’s largest hospital, which previously engaged him for most of its advertising photography, suddenly noted that it wouldn’t dare to use the photography now as it depicts patients receiving flu shots from practitioners who are not wearing masks.

The hospital asked if it would be possible to photoshop masks into the photos. 

Again, it was entrepreneurial problem solving and project/budget management, along with photographic skills, that let him succeed. As he’d kept records of the lighting, color, and specifications for every photograph he’d created, Schoenfeld was able to recreate each photo setting and photograph masks positioned exactly where the people in the original photographs had been. This allowed him to cut and photoshop the masks onto the original photos while maintaining the quality the client required. 

Entrepreneurial skills are necessary amidst crisis

Beyond artistic skills and the ability of any photographer, disabled or not, to move beyond being a barely successful practitioner to a growing and sustainable business requires entrepreneurial skills and an unfailing work ethic to succeed. In fact, Schoenfeld notes, it is this set of requirements that is allowing so many international photographers from regions such as India to become surprisingly adept at stepping in and meeting the needs that U.S. photographers would otherwise be able to fill as “their biggest resource is time,” Schoenfeld notes, and they are willing to invest any number of hours required to hone their skills to succeed. 

Related: How This Comedian Overcame Chronic Pain and Disability to Build Her Media Career

Cheryl Snapp Conner / Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

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