Volkswagen’s electric-car assembly line in Zwickau, Germany, last month.

Photo: Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

Karren Madere and Andrea Knebel are both victims of the Covid-19 recession. Ms. Madere was laid off in June from her job at a travel-management company, where she negotiated hotel-room rates for corporate clients. Ms. Knebel was sent home in April from her job as a business consultant at an auto-parts factory.

Ms. Madere, 61 years old, has since applied for nearly 200 jobs. She spends her days looking for jobs online and follows the news, hoping Congress will agree on another economic-relief package for laid-off workers.

By contrast, Ms. Knebel’s lifestyle hasn’t changed all that much. She spends her time cycling around the picturesque valley where she lives, buying items for her house, and meeting friends for virtual breakfasts and lunches. She isn’t looking for work. She doesn’t worry about how to pay for health care, unlike Ms. Madere, who expects to go without health insurance for a few months.

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