Finance

Nearly 1 million people have run out of unemployment payments: analysis

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Nearly 1 million people have exhausted their unemployment benefits since March after losing their jobs to the coronavirus pandemic, according to an analysis published Wednesday by a progressive think tank.

The Century Foundation calculated that 933,731 people received their maximum allotment of unemployment insurance payments by Aug. 31, according to Labor Department and Treasury Department data. The number and size of unemployment insurance payments are determined by each state.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic triggered the steepest and quickest U.S. economic collapse since the Great Depression. More than 20 million Americans lost their jobs between March and April and the unemployment rate shot up to post-Depression high of 14.7 percent.

The U.S. has gained back nearly 11 million of the jobs lost to the pandemic as of September and the unemployment rate has declined to 7.8 percent. Even so, roughly 25 million people remain on some form of jobless benefits.

The number of people out of work for more than 27 weeks also increased to 2.4 million in September, rising 32.5 percent from August, and there were 4.9 million people who have been unemployed between 15 and 26 weeks, according to the September jobs report.

Economists across the ideological spectrum have warned the U.S. could slip back into recession if President Trump and Congress fail to strike a deal to renew a boost to jobless benefits that expired in July, approve more direct aid for households and small businesses, and bolster cash-strapped state and local governments.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have spent weeks working toward a potential bipartisan stimulus package between $2.2 and $1.9 trillion. While the two have made slow but steady progress, Congress would have less than two weeks to pass an eventual deal before Election Day.

Senate Republicans have also expressed opposition to passing a bill over $1 trillion, raising doubts about the deal’s  viability in the upper chamber. If all members of the Senate Democratic caucus vote in favor of a deal between Pelosi and the administration, it would take the support of 13 Republicans to send the measure to Trump.

Tags Donald Trump Nancy Pelosi Steven Mnuchin

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