By: Alyssa Wilson
More than 7 million people across the United States are losing their unemployment benefits as federal programs expire on Labor Day.
According to The Washington Post in addition to the millions losing benefits, nearly three million more will lose a weekly $300 boost to their state unemployment benefits.
The benefits were first put in place by Congress 18 months ago when the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant layoffs and closed businesses. Now, millions of Americans are still struggling to find work as the Delta variant surges across the country.
In March 2020, temporary federal unemployment assistance was established through the CARES Act. One year later, the American Rescue Plan extended benefits through the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Emergency Compensation, Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
According to Cnet, more than 3 million people were covered by the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which included workers who were no longer eligible to receive unemployment because they passed their state’s benefit window. More than 4 million people are covered by the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, including workers who did not qualify for any form of federal or state unemployment compensation. This included freelancers, part-time workers and independent contractors.
White House officials have indicated there is no plan to extend the benefits beyond Labor Day, saying they were always meant to be temporary. Despite this, state and local governments can use the $350 billion from the American Rescue Plan to support workers.
The end of the benefits comes just days after the August jobs report came as a disappointment to many. Economists predicted the addition of 750,000 new jobs, but the figure only hit 235,000.
After the report was released, President Joe Biden addressed the nation, saying, “Despite the impact of the Delta variant, what we’re seeing is an economic recovery that’s durable and strong. This report means that we have been adding an average of 750,000 jobs per month, on average, during the past three months.”
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