Saturday marks the beginning of the end for Americans who’ve been relying on enhanced unemployment benefits for the past year and a half. More than 300,000 jobless Americans who reside in Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, will stop receiving the extra $300 a week months before they were set to expire in early September, according to calculations performed by Andrew Stettner an expert in unemployment benefits at the Century Foundation, a progressive think-tank.
Americans in at least 21 other states that are also Republican-led like Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, will stop receiving the $300 benefit in the coming weeks as well. The governors of the 25 states, which include Arizona, Texas and Ohio, say the extra $300 a week is overly generous and is contributing to mounting complaints they hear from employers who cannot fill job vacancies. In total, over 4 million Americans will be cut off from unemployment benefits in the coming weeks — some 2 million of whom will be left without any unemployment aid, per Stettner’s estimates. Over the past two months some 825,000 jobs were added — far below the 1.6 million jobs economists were forecasting for April and May. Meanwhile, there were more than 8 million unfilled positions in the U.S. in March, according to the Department of Labor’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.
Over the past two months some 825,000 jobs were added — far below the 1.6 million jobs economists were forecasting for April and May
The BLS will be releasing its JOLTS report for April on Tuesday, economists expect the report to reveal some 8.2 million unfilled job openings. President Joe Biden, along with several fellow Democratic lawmakers, argues that the $300 benefit is not holding back workers from seeking out new employment opportunities, citing prior economic research. Enhanced unemployment benefits “helped people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and who still may be in the process of getting vaccinated,” Biden said Friday. “But it will expire in 90 days. That makes sense — that it will expire in 90 days,” he added. A slew of other states not including Alaska, Arizona, Florida and Ohio are also prematurely cutting jobless recipients from other federal unemployment benefits programs including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). The PUA program, initially enacted through the CARES Act, enabled gig workers, self-employed workers and independent contractors to collect unemployment benefits. Without the program, these workers will not qualify for any unemployment benefits. The PEUC program extended the number of weeks unemployed workers could collect benefits after exhausting the number of weeks allotted by their states.