The pandemic sparked many changes in the world, from the growth of Zoom meetings to pointing out shortcomings in many of our existing systems. Positive change can come from challenges, and the U.S. Department of Labor is one of the most recent examples. The federal agency has created a new office to modernize and reform the unemployment system, providing strategic leadership to work with state agencies and federal partners, according to a press release issued this week.
For American workers, Labor Day this year brings both reasons to celebrate and reasons to be wary. The labor market recovery from the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been strong, but it remains incomplete and unevenly distributed. Job openings are plentiful, but economic shifts have complicated returning to work for many people, who also face continued public health concerns and ongoing caregiving challenges.
On top of that uneven recovery, the federal emergency unemployment insurance (UI) benefits enacted in response to COVID-19 are due to expire this Labor Day weekend, on Sept. 6. With continued uncertainty around