Roughly 16 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits prematurely
Americans living in some GOP-led states could lose their unemployment benefits this week, nearly three months before additional aid ends.
At least 25 states, led by Republican governors, decided in May and June to prematurely abandon several pandemic relief programs, including providing an additional $300 a week on top of regular state unemployment benefits and jobless aid. Extended eligibility included. Supplemental benefits aren’t set to expire until September 6.
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Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi and Missouri will be the first to end pandemic-era programs for out-of-work Americans on June 12.
Other states ending benefits early – Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah , West Virginia and Wyoming — will stop paying an additional $300 in benefits to unemployed workers sometime in the summer.
Roughly 16 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits, according to one assessment Published by Century Foundation.
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The measures came in light of the Labor Department’s April payrolls report, which showed the economy added just 266,000 jobs last month – sharply missing the 1 million forecast by Refinitiv economists. Payroll growth in May also missed expectations, ignoring concerns about a labor shortage and its potential impact on the economy’s weak rebound from the pandemic.
GOP lawmakers blamed additional unemployment support for the anemic job growth, though experts have also cited a lack of child care and fears of contracting COVID-19 for the lack of recruitment.
Before the pandemic began, there are 7.6 million fewer jobs than in February 2020.
The average state unemployment benefit is approx. $330 per week. With the federal supplement, Americans are receiving about $630 in weekly unemployment benefits. (For comparison, that’s about $32,000 a year, or nearly double the country’s minimum wage.)
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President Biden and Democrats have dismissed the notion that Americans are choosing to stay at home and collect additional unemployment benefits – part of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law passed in March – rather than return to work.
Still, Biden has insisted that unemployment benefits as planned would expire in September, despite momentum among some members of his party to make the additional funding permanent.
“It’s going to end in 90 days,” Biden said on Friday. “that makes sense.”