Area employers are having a hard time finding workers.
The reason, however, may be more complicated than you think.
The most common refrain is, 'Why work when you can get free government money?'
But in reality, that's only a small part of what's going on here.
According to a new article from the Associated Press (here) many Americans are simply rethinking their careers.
From the article, "In March, U.S. job openings rose 8% to a record 8.1 million, but overall hiring rose less than 4%." The article features several examples of workers in the service industry who were forced out of their jobs during the pandemic, and have taken that time to explore other options. One worker, 57 year old Ellen Booth, was a lifelong bartender. When her employer closed during COVID, she started an on-line class to be a medical coder. 25 year old Shelly Ortiz had a career as a restaurant server. When her employer reopened, she returned cautiously, concerned about exposure from customers. She finally quit after a co-worker tested positive and the restaurant refused to deep clean. She decided to enroll in a film-making college class and is graduating this month.
All of those in the article admitted money is tight, some digging into their retirement savings...but they have no intention of going back to their previous careers. They are no longer chasing the 'money dream', they say...their qualify of life is most important now. The pandemic has definitely had an effect on workforce dynamics...from workers realizing they can work from home, to those who are actively changing careers, to others striking out on their own...and the results are being felt, as fewer workers are interested in taking the jobs available.
If the pandemic had lasted only a few months, rather than over a year, everything may have returned to normal in the labor market. But such a long time period, not only allows, for often forces people to reimagine their lives and make substantial changes.
If you have found yourself re-evaluating your employment future, or have already found a new way of life that is more rewarding to you...yet your old life has left you in a financial whirlwind...reach out to us and let's discuss ways to clean up your financial problems. Either through debt restructuring, negotiations with creditors, budget adjustments, and if required, bankruptcy. There are several remedies available, including legal options if needed. Call the office of T. Verner Smith today at 423-1888.
Tennessee Governor Lee took the dramatic step earlier this week of refusing the $300 per week federal unemployment supplement. Although the federal program will continue elsewhere through September, Tennessee will put on the brakes July 3rd (story).
Tennessee is also ending participation in federal programs that have allowed the self-employed to qualify...AND the initiative that extended payments after regular benefits expired.
The bottom line: after July 3rd, it's back to a maximum of $275 per week for the unemployed who qualify, no unemployment for self-employed, and no extension of regular benefits.
For those who have been taking advantage of the system, the supposition is they'll likely be able to find a job, since there are approximately 250,000 jobs available...but what about those who are truly struggling and are truly unemployed? Many who legitimately can't go back to work yet. Can you imagine getting by on $275 a week? Especially now as inflation is pushing the price of necessities higher every week?
Not to mention, not everyone has been able to get their unemployment checks. Thousands of Tennessee residents, although they qualified, haven't received any money in weeks or months. There is a Facebook group page titled 'Unofficial Unemployment Tennessee Information and Help' (link here ), and a quick visit will give you some insight into those who are struggling:
One post said, "Been waiting for months and still ain’t got nothing."
Another, "I'm pregnant and not getting paid anything from my job on my leave...people never know what people are going through." and another, "People have been waiting 6 months for a payment. I spent probably 20 hours on the phone with Unemployment trying to get my claim fixed. It’s still not fixed."
Most every family is literally just one 'life event' away from being in a financial mess - an unexpected medical emergency involving your parent, spouse, or child...business reorganizations, layoffs or closings...a wage earner suddenly required to be home for family reasons...a divorce...any number of life changing events.
If you've found yourself in one of these situations, and the upcoming date of July 3rd will put you even further behind, call our office today.
We have helped thousands of Tennessee families struggling with financial problems and we offer a free consultation to determine how we can help you. Call the law office of T. Verner Smith at (731) 423-1888.
In March of last year, The Cares Act allowed homeowners to 'skip' their mortgage payments for up to 360 days. Nearly 5% of all mortgages are still in forbearance. That's over 2 million homeowners. Now, as those deadlines are occurring, many homeowners are surprised to find the lender can demand all of the skipped payments due at once.
That is obviously not a realistic option for most families. Most lenders will have other options for getting the loan current, including deferring the payments to the end of the term, or increasing the monthly payment. However, lenders can, by law demand whatever payments they want to bring the account current, including demanding all past payments due at once.
A number of families may not be able to meet the new conditions and losing their home to foreclosure is a real possibility. According to a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (link), people of color will be hardest hit, as 9% of black mortgage borrowers, and 8% of hispanic borrowers are in forbearance...compared to less than 4% of whites.
If your family has found itself in this situation, and losing your home is a real possibility, call us at the law firm of T. Verner Smith. If you qualify, there are legal options that can stop foreclosure, the eviction process, and lawsuits.
This is just one example of how families affected by the COVID19 crisis were forced into seeking help, and now that timelines have exhausted, they can be unprepared or unable to answer new financial demands.
Our office has helped thousands of Tennessee families struggling with financial problems and we offer a free consultation to determine how we can help you. Call us at (731) 423-1888.
While everyone is caught up in the 'wear a mask' or 'don't wear a mask' dilemma....the chatter over businesses looking for workers, and the question of whether or not government assistance is encouraging folks to just stay at home...the fact remains that the COVID-19 crisis dealt a huge blow to middle income America.
An article from Pew Research found that globally, the number of qualified 'poor' has risen 131 million MORE during the crisis. (story here) The vast majority of those additional 131 million fell from the ranks of 'middle income'.
Last week we mentioned that the average 'working' wage in Tennessee is around $1,000 per week. Here's a bit more information about income disparity depending upon your job (stats here). Nationally, the average weekly wage for management and professional occupations is near $1,300. The average weekly wage for service and laborer occupations is closer to $650 a week (even less here in Tennessee/$550 here). We can all agree that the majority of West Tennessee workers fall into the service and laborer category. Those were also the first jobs impacted by the crisis.
Despite recent tax and benefits packages announced by the White House, there is no doubt that any relief is temporary and just enough to keep families from starving.
Many of those middle income, or formerly middle income families have found themselves in a paperwork and red tape nightmare as they try to survive their financial problems.
We may have the solutions you need, either in addition to whatever government assistance you're receiving, or if you don't qualify for that assistance. At the law office of T. Verner Smith, we have helped thousands of families overcome financial difficulties through debt restructuring, negotiations with creditors, budget adjustments, and if required, bankruptcy. There are several remedies available, including legal options if needed.
Call our office and schedule a free consultation. As the statistics have proven, you and your family are not alone in this struggle. Call us today and let's start charting a path to relief. Our number is (731) 423-1888.
If there are so many jobs available, why does Tennessee's 'new' unemployment claims keep going up? This past week there were over 13,000 new claims...the highest since January. 'Continued' unemployment claims in Tennessee also rose to just above 46,000. On the national 'unemployment recovery' list, Tennessee ranks 45th.
The easy and often repeated answer is, "Well I wouldn't work either if the government kept paying me to sit at home." But is that really the case?
While there may be a certain percentage who are 'working the system'...for the majority, living on unemployment is not exactly the lap of luxury.
In Tennessee, for those in the workforce, the average 'working' wage is $1,027 per week. Unemployment benefits, by comparison, even with additional federal help, average just $528 per week in Tennessee...about HALF the average working wage in the state.
Of course the recent stimulus check helped many families...but even that eventually runs out.
At it's peak, during last year's Coronavirus surge, there were over 500,000 unemployed in Tennessee. Tens of thousands of those had never filed unemployment before, and had previously never had to rely on government assistance of any kind. They had to learn the procedures, how to file, when to file, and what to expect. In the aftermath of it all, many learned how to work the system....and many more are faced with completely changing careers, learning new skill sets, striking out on their own, or reassessing what is important to them now.
The business world is going through paradigm shift changes like we've never seen. Employers are struggling to find workers, especially in lower hourly wage areas...but literally across the board, as potential workers are still hanging back due to concerns about COVID, childcare, family obligations, or holding out for better opportunities. A new study found that 58% employees who have been working from home say they'll look for another job if required to come to an office.
If, however, your family is legitimately struggling because maybe you didn't qualify for unemployment, and these stimulus checks are a drop in the bucket compared what you need to stay afloat....call us at the law office of T. Verner Smith.
Through either financial restructuring, debt resolution, or legal options including but not limited to bankruptcy, there are ways to relieve the pressure and chart a path to a better future. Don't be embarrassed, don't be hesitant, you are not alone, and taking action now is the smart approach.
Call us at (731) 423-1888 and schedule a free consultation.
If it seemed your grocery bill went up over the last few weeks, you're right. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported prices for meat, poultry and fish increased by more than 5% since February. Dairy products also increased by about 2%.
The culprit? Fuel prices...which rose by almost 12% in March. Those costs, of course, are all passed on to the consumer. (story here)
Those hardest hit, as always, are families already struggling with financial problems. Cutting back on food budgets is one of the first things people do when the bank account dwindles. But when grocery prices continue to climb, cutting back has little impact.
A new study last month found that 1 out of every 8 Americans will experience 'food insecurity' this year. The definition of 'food insecurity' is 'being without reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food'. 1 of every 6 children, according to the study, will be faced with food insecurity this year. (study here)
The fact is, however, that many of these situations can be avoided if a legal remedy is at least considered. Many of these families with financial difficulties (especially those caused by out of control debt) can find a way out of their challenges with the remedies offered by our office.
Through debt reconstruction, debtor negotiation, budget planning, or in some circumstances filing for bankruptcy, many struggling families can legally prevent most of the problems they face today. Call our office at (731) 423-1888 and schedule a free consultation.
At the law office of T. Verner Smith, we have helped thousands of families in Tennessee and are eager to see how we can assist yours as well.
Tennessee lawmakers are considering a bill that would cut unemployment benefits down from 26 weeks to just 12 weeks.
The state already has the fourth lowest payout in the nation, at just $275 per week, and if this bill is passed, it will make Tennessee's benefits program among the worst in the nation. Only Florida and North Carolina use the 12 week system.
Those supporting the bill (HB1039) say that Tennessee is struggling to keep money in the 'unemployment trust fund'. Businesses pay into the fund to keep it afloat...and reducing the number of weeks helps relieve that burden.
Those opposing it, however, contend that losing those 14 weeks of unemployment pay would put tens of thousands of families in financial jeopardy. If enacted, the bill would begin in July of 2023.
While this bill may not have an immediate effect (with a 2023 potential date) it serves to underscore how quickly legislators can rip a huge hole in the safety net that struggling Tennessee families rely on in tough times.
Anyone, at any station in life, may find themselves jobless at any point. Are you prepared to survive such a circumstance for weeks or months on end? Many say there are jobs to be had...and yes there may be. But most families are (in all honesty) living paycheck to paycheck. If you compound that with losing a good paying job and are then forced to take a lower paying job...suddenly minor problems quickly become major ones.
At the law office of T. Verner Smith, we can help you navigate your way through the rough waters of financial difficulties. Through either financial restructuring, debt resolution, or legal options including but not limited to bankruptcy, there are ways to relieve the pressure and chart a path to a better future. Don't be embarrassed, don't be hesitant, you are not alone, and taking action now is the smart approach.
Call us at (731) 423-1888 and schedule a free consultation.
Flooding earlier this week across West and Middle Tennessee left thousands adversely affected, hundreds with property damage, and at least 7 who lost their lives.
In most cases, storms and flooding either fall into the category of an 'act of God'...or landlords, government entities, and insurance companies claim that's the case....but that's not always true.
Of course, each case is unique, but in some cases someone simply was negligent in performing their job or planning for scenarios that resulted in innocent parties affected; dealing with property damage, illness, or even death. In those cases, legal representation is almost always necessary in order to get to the truth.
Flooding and sewage backup:
If your home, apartment, or business suffered flood damage, and in your estimation the flooding stems from poor civil engineering, poorly maintained drainage issues, or other potentially liable actions, you are within your rights to pursue legal action for your losses. Sewage backup problems, a serious threat to health, may also be actionable.
If you have a homeowner's storm damage claim that has been denied, that doesn't mean you're wrong. Legal recourse may be available. Oftentimes in instances involving tree damage, the dispute occurs over whose property the tree was on...for example, if your neighbor's tree falls into your yard; typically that falls under your policy, even though it's not your tree. However, legal action may be considered if you had asked your neighbor multiple times to trim back an obviously dangerous tree overhang.
Ultimately, it is a good rule of thumb to be aware that when insurance companies, government entities, and landlords try to pass the buck as an 'act of God'...before you reach into your pocket, make doubly sure they're telling the truth.
At the law offices of T. Verner Smith, we represent clients who have suffered personal injury due to the negligence of another. These types of lawsuits not only provide necessary compensation for those who were wrongfully hurt, but also creates an environment of caution leading to higher safety standards for all.
Call us for a free consultation at (731) 423-1888.
Did the recent storms involved you in a wreck after someone hydroplaned?
Have you recently been involved in an accident in which the other person has blamed 'hydroplaning' for losing control of their vehicle?
Hydroplaning is a term describing the sliding of tires across a wet surface. These incidents often cause a chain reaction crash, often resulting in injuries. While some hydroplaning incidents may be determined as unavoidable, a great number can be prevented with proper driving techniques.
Hydroplaning can be caused by multiple negligent actions:
If you believe that you or a loved one have fallen victim to someone who was careless while driving, you may have a case that proves their actions were negligent and any pain or suffering you endured or continue to endure could result in a potential lawsuit. Contact us for a case review.
At the law offices of T. Verner Smith, we represent clients who have suffered personal injury due to the negligence of another. These types of lawsuits not only provide necessary compensation for those who were wrongfully hurt in an accident, but also creates an environment of caution leading to higher safety standards for all.
Call us for a free consultation at (731) 423-1888, (901) 730-4567, or (615) 371-6136.
* Tennessee kills $12 minimum wage bill. * New unemployment claims more than double from a year ago. * Still no stimulus check? You're not alone.
Tennessee kills $12 minimum wage bill.
A bill came before the Tennessee Senate Commerce and Labor Committee this week that would've raised the minimum wage in the state to $12 an hour by 2025.
As the bill stated, the increase for 2022 would be to $9.25 an hour, followed by annual adjustments until the $12 per hour rate was achieved on or after January 1, 2025.
However, on Tuesday of this week, the bill was brought before the committee and failed to achieve a second. You can watch video of one of the co-sponsors of the bill, Senator Sara Kyle of Memphis, as she asked the committee for the increase here.
Tennessee abides by the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour and hasn't made a change since 2008.
Currently, a full time minimum wage worker in Tennessee (at 40 hours a week), will earn $290 per week. That's right at $15,000 per year. Note that the national poverty line for a family of two is $16,000 per year.
As a result, there are thousands of Tennessee families, with one wage earner, even while working full time, living under the poverty line.
In fact, almost 14% of Tennessee's population qualifies as living below the poverty line.
EVEN MORE DISTURBING, all of these numbers are PRE-COVID.
New unemployment claims more than double from a year ago.
New unemployment claims for Tennessee last week topped 7,500. That number is up slightly from the previous week, and is more than double this same time last year (March 2020: 2,700 new claims).
The number of continued claims in Tennessee totaled 44,428.
Still no stimulus check? You're not alone.
While 90 million Americans have already received their $1,400 stimulus checks, millions more are still wondering why they haven't received theirs.
According to the IRS and Treasury Department, millions more payments are going to be dispensed in the next couple of weeks by direct deposit, mailed paper checks, or pre-paid debit cards.
If you haven't received a payment, or a smaller check than you expected, there are a few steps you can take:
If you have found yourself in a difficult financial situation, and realize waiting for government help isn't the ultimate answer, reach out to us for advice. Our office has helped thousands of Tennesseans with financial problems, with counseling, debt resolution, and legal remedies such as bankruptcy if necessary.
Call our office at (731) 423-1888, or visit our website for more information at www.vernersmith.com
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