NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The unemployment figures are stunning, and still don’t capture the full story of the toll on workers, who’ve had their hours cut or are temporarily furloughed.
The clearest picture yet of the economic devastation from the U.S. unemployment rate. Today, the U.S. The Department of Labor released April’s findings, showing the rate soared past 14%. It's a record shattering spike, to a rate that’s second only to the great depression.
Leonard Hawkins is like thousands of others across the state, down to their last dollar. He’s had to dip into his savings just to provide for his family.
“The most embarrassing thing is you have to tell your kid, (sigh)...I don’t know what we’re gonna eat. I don’t know if mom or dad could get you that or take care of you...you know,” Hawkins said.
Many fathers and mothers can relate to Hawkins, trying to make ends meet when the pandemic appears to have no end in sight.
“People are losing their cars and people are having to live with friends because they’re being kicked out of their place,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins says he drives for uber and lyft. Like many self-employed people, his income drastically changed when COVID-19 hit Music City.
“I went from making, I wanna say $1,000 a week, to $100 a week,” Hawkins said.
For seven weeks now, he’s been waiting on his unemployment claims, with no luck.
“You just want to give up,” Hawkins said. “I’m to the point where I’m thinking about selling my belongings. I’m running out of cash,” Hawkins said.
Whether you’re self-employed or laid off, many people across Middle Tennessee are facing similar issues.
The Warn Notice, on the State Department of Labor’s website is a list that requires employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of things such as plant closings, mass layoffs or sale of a business.
News 4 counted the list.
Since Mid-March, around 140 companies have listed their layoff dates. You can also see the amount of workers affected for each company when it comes to either temporary or permanent layoffs.
“Right now, I mean, it’s pretty bad,” Hawkins said.
This morning, News 4 asked the Department of Labor if they could look into Hawkins’s situation. Just before 3pm, Hawkins received an email stating he will soon get his Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
He can finally let out a sigh of relief, after weeks of holding his breath.