NEW YORK - A growing number of jobs lost due to the coronavirus pandemic are disappearing forever.
A new analysis of payroll data published by Gusto found that less than half of furloughed employees have returned to work since March, and often for less money than they were earning pre-crisis.
The findings show that only 37% of workers furloughed in March, and 47% of those laid off in April, returned to their jobs as of July. A quarter of the workers furloughed in March who were re-hired and went back to their jobs had their wages slashed by 10% or more.
Just 14% of workers who returned to work are earning the same amount of money that they were previously making.
Of the millions of workers furloughed between March, when the COVID-19 outbreak triggered an unprecedented shutdown of the nation's economy, and June, 22% have been permanently laid-off.
The Labor Department's July jobs report released at the beginning of August showed that employers added 1.8 million jobs last month, sending the unemployment rate down to 10.2%.
While it marked the third consecutive month of job growth in the millions, the economy has so far added back less than half -- about 42% -- of the 22 million jobs it lost during the pandemic. Permanent losses reached 2.9 million in July, the report showed.
Another 1 million Americans filed for jobless benefits last week, the agency said Thursday, marking the 22nd time in 23 weeks that the number of workers seeking jobless benefits topped a million.
Workers are also growing pessimistic about their odds of returning to work: Nearly half of Americans whose families experienced a layoff during the pandemic think the job loss will be permanent — which could mean that roughly 10 million workers need to find a new employer, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll.
The renewed threat of permanent layoffs is emerging just a few weeks after the extra $600 a week in employment benefits, part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in March, expired.
President Trump signed an executive action on Aug. 8 partially restoring the federal aid at $300 a week. So far, 34 states have been approved to offer the benefit. Only five have started to distribute it to laid-off workers.
The boosted aid will last until the money in the fund runs out, or through Dec. 6, 2020, according to the executive memo. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates the money will last for about five weeks.
The average state unemployment benefit is about $330 per week. With the federal supplement, Americans can expect to receive about $630 in weekly unemployment benefits.