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COVID & Unemployment

Federal pandemic unemployment benefits expire nationwide

Samantha Fields Sep 6, 2021
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Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images
COVID & Unemployment

Federal pandemic unemployment benefits expire nationwide

Samantha Fields Sep 6, 2021
Heard on:
Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

For the first time in the 18 months since the pandemic began, there are no more federal pandemic unemployment benefits. About half of states had already pulled out of some or all of those programs to try to get more people to go back to work. But they’ve now expired nationwide.

That means no more unemployment benefits for gig workers and the self-employed, no more extra $300 a week and no more extended benefits for people who’ve been unemployed for a long time.

More than 7.5 million people were still getting those pandemic unemployment benefits that just expired.

“Some people will find jobs, but the vast majority of them will endure September without having a steady stream of income,” said Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation. “We’ve gotten a preview as some states have ended the benefits early.”

A number of recent studies have all found that states that pulled out of the federal programs before they expired did not see a big spike in people going back to work.

Why might that be? “Lack of child care seems to be a factor, there’s continuing concerns about safety,” said Arin Dube, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He worked on one study that found a small increase in people taking jobs after states had cut off benefits.

But, “overall, there’s a lot of evidence that even though there was some increase in employment, there was a net negative impact on these economies,” Dube said, because, when people lost expanded unemployment benefits and did not find work, they cut way back on their spending.

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