More than three-quarters of Republican-led states plan to prematurely end $ 300 a week in federal unemployment benefits, as jobless claims hit a new pandemic low, likely triggering a decline in the number of benefit recipients this summer.
The move came as initial jobless claims through the state’s regular programs fell to 444,000 last week, the lowest level since the outbreak of the pandemic in mid-March 2020. Weekly requests are still more than double their average of 218,000 in 2019 before the pandemic.
This week, Texas, Oklahoma and Indiana joined the list of at least 21 states cutting access to federal benefits early after a much weaker than expected employment report in April sparked fears of labor shortages. States are waiving the additional $ 300 benefit, extended payments, and benefits for small workers and other workers who are generally not eligible for unemployment benefits.
States have announced dates from mid-June to mid-July to stop processing benefits related to the pandemic. That means nearly 3.5 million people could lose weekly benefits of $ 300 – which were due to expire in early September – as of mid-June, according to estimates by forecasting firm Oxford Economics.
Of these, about 1.4 million will also lose pandemic benefits for construction workers, and about 1.1 million will no longer have access to extended benefits that will take effect after claimants exhaust their benefits. regular benefits.