'30 days to find a job:' Over 2 million workers face unemployment benefits cliff
More than 2 million workers could see their unemployment benefits cut or canceled entirely in the next month as more states oppose federal unemployment programs. Some of the hardest hit are unemployed black Americans.
"The states give them 30 days to find a job," Andrew Stettner, an unemployment insurance expert and senior fellow at the Century Foundation, told Yahoo Money. "Most of these workers will not find work within 30 days. Most of them will not have unemployment benefits."
According to an analysis by the Century Foundation, these workers are losing a total of $ 10.9 billion, which is an average of potentially thousands of dollars per worker. This money does not flow into the economies of these countries either.
So far, 18 states are planning to cancel the pandemic's unemployment programs. Alaska and West Virginia were the last states to opt out on Friday. This has picked up pace among Republican governors after last week's disappointing job report.
“More than 50 local employers have recruited and the response has been very positive. Employers' demand for employees exceeds that of applicants, ”said Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter, commissioner for the Alaska Department of Labor and Human Resources Development, in a statement Friday. "For those looking for work, the time is now."
"Those who have the hardest time finding a job"
Beginning in mid-June or late June, unemployed people in these 18 states will lose the additional $ 300 in weekly unemployment benefits but retain their regular benefits. Contractors, gig workers, and others will lose access to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which means they will not receive any benefits at all.
These programs will expire nationwide on September 6th.
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According to Stettner, the reduction in benefits will disproportionately harm the colored people. Two-thirds of those receiving unemployment insurance in Mississippi are black, and about half are in South Carolina and Alabama. The percentage of black Americans who depend on unemployment in these three states is at least three times higher than the national average of 18%.
"We know that people of color - especially black workers - are the majority of beneficiaries in the southern states," said Stettner. "They are the ones who have the hardest finding jobs because of discrimination, and they are also the ones who have been hit hardest by COVID."
A man wearing a mask walks past a sign that reads "Hire Now" on Melrose Avenue along the coronavirus pandemic on April 22, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld / Getty Images)
"Use Federal Funds To Encourage People To Work"
Arizona and Montana are the only ones of the 18 states that offer a one-time return payment of $ 2,000 and $ 1,200 with funds from the American Rescue Plan, respectively. In Montana, only those who do four weeks of work would receive payment, while Arizonans would have to do at least 10 weeks in their new job.
"The increase and expansion of additional unemployment benefits that was once well-intentioned is now having the wrong effect," Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said in a video statement Thursday. "In Arizona, we're going to be using federal funds to encourage people to work ... instead of paying people to not work."
Legislators, including Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), are calling on the Secretary of Labor to find a way to pay benefits to PUA recipients, with Sanders noting that this is a “from Congress mandatory requirement ". in a letter on Thursday.
"I urge you to commit to holding states accountable for their role in managing PUA benefits," Sanders wrote. "Workers who do not have access to childcare, who have lost employer-sponsored health insurance, and who fear for their health and safety while we work to get every American vaccinated are entitled to these benefits."
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Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova
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