Extra jobless benefits gave millions of Americans an income boost amid the pandemic, but the program is set to expire this week, which could impact the economy and the labor market. CNBC’s Steve Liesman reports. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2NGeIvi
Unless Congress acts, the $600 per week boost to unemployment benefits will be cut off at a time when a record number of Americans depend on that assistance.
The $600 weekly payments from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program were put in place as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that Congress passed in late March amid the coronavirus pandemic. Americans who are eligible for unemployment insurance receive an extra $600 on top of what they normally claim under their state’s benefits. Yet this boost is scheduled to end for all states except New York, on Saturday July 25, 2020. New York’s end date is Sunday, July 26, according to the Department of Labor.
Roughly 25.6 million workers are set to be impacted by this benefit loss, according to recent estimates by the progressive think tank The Century Foundation. That includes 15.6 million Americans enrolled in regular state unemployment programs who currently receive the extra $600 boost and about 9 million people on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which specifically covers business owners, self-employed Americans, gig workers and independent contractors who are not typically eligible for unemployment. Approximately 1 million Americans receiving benefits through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation also get the $600 boost. While the $600 unemployment boost program is set to end this month, the PUA and PEUC programs will run until the end of 2020.
The economic impact of the extra benefits adds up to $15.4 billion per week nationwide, up from states spending less than $1 billion per week on unemployment before the crisis, the Century Foundation reports.
“Working families from all over the country, including more than 1 million who signed one petition, have made clear that these extra UI funds have made the difference in helping families pay their medical bills, care for their children and keep a roof over their head as they await the opportunity to return to work safely,” says Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and a leading unemployment expert.
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