Forward Kentucky: Ohio Valley economic outlook grim as COVID aid programs end

With hundreds of thousands across the Ohio Valley struggling to make ends meet, a suite of coronavirus aid packages — including rent and utility relief funding, eviction moratoriums, and expanded unemployment benefits — is set to expire at the end of December.

Written by Sydney Boles of the Ohio Valley Resource

The consequences could be far-reaching. Poverty rates have soared as some federal programs, including the additional $600 in weekly unemployment aid, came to a close. Now, over 75% of Kentucky’s 7,654 independent restaurants are in danger of closing permanently, according to the Independent Restaurant Coalition; one in three West Virginians is at risk of eviction; 16% of Ohioans are behind on their rent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate is 6.9%⁠— well below the terrifying peaks of late spring, but twice what it was in February.

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