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What to do if you’re laid off during COVID-19: Start with these unemployment resources

What to do if you’re laid off during COVID-19: Start with these unemployment resources
[Photo: Nathan Cowley/Pexels]

If you get laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. Job loss is rampant among businesses ranging from movie theaters to aerospace manufacturing. Unemployment claims have skyrocketed to record highs, and things are only worsening: Experts predict up to 37 million jobs could be cut in the next few months, and the country’s unemployment rate could reach 30% (it’s currently 3.5%).

As Congress hammers out a rescue package, the Department of Labor is doing what it can to ease the hurt on individuals affected by cutbacks and shutdowns. It’s set up a website, CareerOneStop.org, with a compendium of resources for the unemployed.

Here’s some of what it offers:

  • Option to search based on the type of worker you are: The site sorts resources into categories such as “laid-off worker,” “older worker,” “career changer,” and “worker with a criminal conviction.”
  • Industry insights: To help you decide on a career direction, the site contains recent data on which industries are the fastest growing and highest paying, and which have the most openings. It also displays employment patterns for more than 800 occupations.
  • Skill and interest assessments: A 30-question “Interest Assessment” quiz and 40-question “Skills Matcher” tool allow you to narrow down potential paths based on what you like to do and what you’re good at.
  • Funding finder for training programs: The site offers a filterable list of 8,220 scholarship, fellowship, grant, and financial aid awards to defray the costs of training or education.
  • Tips for job-seekers: The site offers advice on networking, elevator pitches, résumés and cover letters, and common interview questions—as well as what to do if you’re not getting results or if you’re overqualified for a job.
  • State-by-state directories: The site offers economic profiles and labor market information for each state, including employment projections, wage rates, government jobs and job banks, and unemployment benefits.
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