Millions of jobless New Yorkers are in jeopardy of losing unemployment benefits at the end of July. The $600 weekly supplemental unemployment payments that hundreds of New Yorkers currently rely on will end on July 25 if congress lets the federally provided benefit expire.

James Parrott, an economist of the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School, said Congress must come up with a comprehensive plan.

“Hopefully we will see a credible response from Washington on this because I think the situation is more dire than what a lot of people are realizing,” he said.

Parrott, who released a report on the pandemic’s impact on the city’s economy, said that, unlike previous recessions, much of the job loss has taken place in the restaurant, hotel, and arts and entertainment industries. He also said that coronavirus-related job losses have heavily impacted low-wage workers.  

“What’s really different about the pandemic-related job displacement from a usual recession is that this has hit face-to-face service industries. In a near-total way, the job displacement has been about two-thirds in that sector and it hits very hard on low wage workers,” he told NY1.

Parrott also added that the pandemic has already had devastating effects on businesses. Revenue for some restaurants and small businesses are down by 50 percent. And with a multitude of New Yorkers out of work or closely watching their pockets due to fears of job loss, small businesses may be at greater risk if the federal government does not implement a multifaceted plan.

“These businesses can’t hang on at that level of reduced business much longer and yet I don’t think there’s a scenario under which we’re going to see much more rapid recovery in the economy,” Parrott said.

“Policymakers in Washington before too long are going to have to turn their attention to new forms of economics assistance that are not really on the table at this point and I think that means public service jobs programs, infrastructure job creation programs ... to put people back to work coupled with better targeted measures to help small businesses,” he added.

Congress will decide on COVID-19 relief when they are back in session at the end of the month.