As COVID-19 rages on, more temporary job losses have become permanent so Americans are switching careers during the pandemic.


Michelle Hansen has used up all of her savings. She’s cut the TV service. She declined to buy her children’s school pictures this year. She borrowed money from her father to buy toilet paper.

“It’s very embarrassing,” said Hansen of Sioux City, Iowa. “I’ve always been able to support myself. And I think I could be if I was getting the benefit I’m supposed to be getting.”

Hansen, 31, has seen her unemployment payments shrink this fall, a problem that Iowa Workforce Development staffers blame on the agency’s outdated computer systems.

After Hansen originally received $580 a week under the state’s standard unemployment program, an Iowa Workforce Development employee determined in August that she actually should receive benefits under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the federal program created for