Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / Getty Images
Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh announced that unemployment benefits which were increased by $ 300 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, will expire next month as planned, even as coronavirus cases in the country are increasing with the Delta variant.
However, they said that President Joe Biden believes that the pandemic exposed “serious problems” with the current unemployment system that require immediate reform, and the president is asking Congress to address the problem when he returns from recess, as part of the budget reconciliation process.
The $ 300 pandemic-related increase in weekly unemployment benefits, as well as programs implemented for those who do not qualify for traditional unemployment benefits or who have been long-term unemployed as extended under the American Rescue Plan, They expire on September 6.
The unemployment rate has dropped gradually in recent months in the US to 5.4% in July, after it soared above 10% in 2020 with the arrival of the pandemic and the mobility restrictions imposed to contain its expansion.
Yellen and Walsh specified that “some states” can use part of the federal funds approved during the last rescue package for state and local entities worth $ 350,000 million dollars to extend this aid that increases unemployment benefit.
And so, they stressed, they can give residents of those states “a little more time to find a job in areas where unemployment is still high.”
Several states, the majority governed by Republicans, decided to cut this aid at the beginning of summer due to the difficulties of some businesses to find employees, something for which they blamed this support for discouraging the job search.
The Federal Reserve (Fed) expects the US economy to grow this year at a rate of about 7%, which would be the highest since the 1980s, and expects unemployment to close the year at 4.5%.