Almost half of furloughed workers in the U.S. don't believe their jobs are coming back, according to a report from CNBC citing a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The number has been growing grimmer since the surveys started. In April, only 2 out of every 10 households said they were discouraged that their jobs wouldn't return, with the rest thinking there was a chance the economy would bounce back.
But that was before the surges in coronavirus cases in the summer, which stalled numerous states' reopening plans and resulted in more job losses.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment hasn't slowed down meaningfully, either, with still around 1.4 million people entering such claims in the last week. It was the second week in a row where claim numbers rose after a period of time where they'd begun to fall.
Compounding on those issues is the limbo-status of the federal unemployment assistance, part of the CARES Act. The extra $600 a week for those unemployed recently expired, and Republican lawmakers have stated their intention is to pursue lower benefits, so as to incentivize people to return to work instead.
The next round of pandemic relief is still being debated. The House passed a plan in May that would have kept the extra $600 for unemployment, but the Senate declined to take it up. The Senate has released its own plan, the HEALS Act, which would extend $200-a-week benefits through October and implement a 70 percent wage replacement calculation through the end of 2020.
CNBC talked to numerous people struggling with the situation, including Waterford, Connecticut, resident Katherine Williams, who lost her fulfillment lead job at Macy's in late June after agonizing over the possibility since she was furloughed earlier this year. Williams called it "quite a kick in the face" to see some employees who used to report to her back at work while she went in to pick up things for her family.
Macy's, in a reply to CNBC, said most of its employees had been able to come back to work.