Service-sector employees in the U.S. who are currently receiving unemployment benefits due to COVID-19, owe more than $1.7 billion in rent and mortgage payments each month, according to a report from Zillow.
The latest unemployment data, released last week, shows the U.S. unemployment rate at 13.3% in May, down from a record 14.7% in April, as the economy added 2.5 million jobs, according to the Labor Department.
Currently, unemployment benefits created as a result of the pandemic – an extra $600 a week for those who apply – are set to expire on July 31. On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced its opposition to a Democratic-led proposal to extend the extra $600 per week federal unemployment benefit.
When the U.S. began to feel the effects of COVID-19, restaurants and bars across the country were hit hardest, leaving bartenders, servers and other retail trade employees owing more than $1.72 billion in monthly housing payments nationwide.
Despite unemployment benefits, stimulus checks and temporary forbearances, the National Multifamily Housing Council said that 22% of renters in the U.S. paid none of their bill in the first week of April. By the same time in May, the share of renters not paying fell to 20%, after stimulus checks hit bank accounts around April 15.
Thirty-eight percent of renters in Assurant‘s MultiFamily Housing Renters Perspective Study said that they will need rent relief help during the next 90 days, and 42% said they are unsure about their rental stability going forward.
In states like New York, which had its eviction moratorium extended, Zillow said that there is more than $133.5 million in monthly housing payments that are owed by accommodation and food service workers who experienced COVID-19-related job loss. This makes up 46.8% of total housing payment owed by the entire industry.
In smaller states such as Rhode Island, recently out-of-work accommodation and food service workers owe 63.2% of the total monthly housing costs owed by all the state’s workers in this industry.
In 38 states, and the U.S. as a whole, newly unemployed workers in the accommodation and foodservice industry are responsible for more than 15% of total housing payments owed by all workers in the industry in each state, Zillow said.