Sep 17, 2021 - Economy & Business

States that ended COVID unemployment benefits see no boost in job growth

Photo of a white banner that says "Now Hiring" draped over the top of a restaurant

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

States that ended federal unemployment benefits earlier this summer saw August job growth at less than half the rate of states that retained the benefits, according to new data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Why it matters: Leaders in the largely Republican-led states had insisted that the benefits were discouraging people from work, and ended the assistance program early ahead of its planned expiration on Sept. 6.

  • The benefits, which came in the form of weekly $300 payments, had been in place since spring last year to help families through the pandemic.
  • A growing group of states began ending the benefits in June in what they called an effort to incentivize people to return to the workforce.

What they're saying: "Economists analyzing the unemployment issue have seen little evidence yet that cutting off the benefits has provided a clear boost to local labor markets, in part because of difficulties separating the influence of the payments from larger shifts in the labor force, or of the potentially offsetting damage done by the pandemic," Reuters writes.

Worth noting: When jobs are hard to fill, a broader worker awakening over the past year is part of the reason, Axios' Hope King writes.

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