The Employment Guide | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Employment Guide

Navigating the job field in unprecedented times

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CP illustration: Abbie Adams
Being unemployed can be incredibly stressful no matter the situation, but for the millions of Americans faced with unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic, it can seem like an even more difficult time than ever before to navigate the job field. That’s why Pittsburgh City Paper has put together this guide to help make things a little less overwhelming.
The Employment Guide
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The most important thing to know is that you’re not alone. Pennsylvania's unemployment rate in June increased by 8.7% points compared to the same month last year, according to the latest report from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. If you’ve recently become unemployed, or are still struggling to get an unemployment check, we have advice on how to file for unemployment, whether you were an employee or a self-employed gig worker.

But there is also some promising news. Last week, the number of Americans applying for unemployment dropped below one million for the first time since the pandemic began. And according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, the Pittsburgh metro area’s unemployment claims peaked at around 200,000 in mid-May, with August’s number decreasing by over 60,000. The logical conclusion: companies are hiring.

To help you get ready for your next interview, we talked to experts on resume building; plus, we have resources for job listings, job training, and places that provide professional clothing to those without access.

But we know that for many, August also brings financial uncertainties after a $600-a-week federal supplement added to unemployment checks disappeared at the end of July when Congress let the benefit lapse. “The typical unemployed American was receiving about $930 a week from late March to late July,” according to The Washington Post. “That has now been cut to about $330 a week, a far lower amount that many families say is not enough to pay for food, medicine, and rent.”

President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Sat., Aug. 8 to add an additional $300 to weekly unemployment benefits, but White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said it would take “about two weeks” before Americans would receive the money. And, according to a report by CNBC, labor experts warn it could take more than a month, if it arrives at all.

For added peace of mind, we’ve talked to an expert for advice on how to apply for food assistance for those who in need; and, because we know the pandemic adds an extra level of stress to so many during this time, we’ve also talked to an expert about how to make sure your mental health is taken care of. Whether you’ve been let go, laid off, or are transitioning to a new career, we hope you find some helpful advice in the articles below, and we wish you the best of luck on navigating these truly unprecedented times.

Pittsburgh City Paper's
2020 Employment Guide

What you need to know when filing an unemployment claim in Pennsylvania
Refresh your resume with these expert tips
Accessing free public computers, internet, and curbside printing in Pittsburgh
Looking for a job? These local job-listing sites provide the Pittsburgh touch
Need help finding an interview outfit? There are resources in Pittsburgh that can help.
What places in Pittsburgh can help with job training for a new career
Pittsburgh-based company uses video games to help users learn job skills and career interests
How to apply for food assistance, even if you've never done it before
How to find health care when you're out of work
Job losses and financial insecurity are taking a toll on mental health during the pandemic