ISSUE 72 | July 27, 2020
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
PA workers fearful as deadline looms to renew $600 jobless benefits 
Congress is considering a second stimulus package to help with economic recovery from the pandemic.

This package could potentially include a renewal of the $600 per week boost to unemployment benefits, which may expire within days.

Unemployment in Pennsylvania is still high, and many households in the state are relying on the additional benefits to meet their needs.

Wilkes-Barre’s finances affected by coronavirus
The city of Wilkes-Barre reported a positive financial balance in the middle of 2020, but its revenue has remained lower than previously expected due to the economic effects of the coronavirus.

Loss of city revenue from sources like service fees and certain taxes has resulted from:
  • business closures
  • unemployment
  • social distancing guidelines

Statistics about NEPA dominate forum on future
Earlier in the week, a group of policy experts – including Teri Ooms, Executive Director of The Institute – participated in a virtual forum on the future of Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties.

The forum highlighted some positive statistics, such as the region’s growing diversity and relatively low housing costs, while also noting the surge in unemployment caused by the pandemic and the fact that one in four households receives an income under $25,000.

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
NIH project homes in on COVID-related racial disparities
Researchers at the National Institutes for Health have launched a project to explore how socioeconomic factors such as income, family structure, and access to health care affect the impact of COVID-19 on communities.

The project also focuses on racial disparities associated with the pandemic, and the extent to which Black and Hispanic communities have been disproportionately harmed.

Researchers tracking vulnerability and premature mortality in America
New research from the Brookings Institution examines the relationship between well-being (in terms of optimism and worry) and prevalence of death of despair (deaths related to substance use or suicide) throughout the United States.

They have created an interactive tool for viewing state- and county-level data about this relationship, with the goal of identifying which regions are most vulnerable to deaths of despair and what interventions may be effective for reducing those deaths. 

Report highlights the economics of remote work
A new report from Upwork examines the economic impact of remote work, which has become common as a result of COVID-19.

The report’s findings – which are based on pre-pandemic data – suggest that off-site work allows more spending to flow from businesses in large, expensive cities into smaller areas.

These findings may demonstrate how the transition to remote work will affect regional economies during and after the pandemic.

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