Almost half of states will cancel pandemic unemployment programs — with Florida the latest to opt out
Florida is the youngest Republican-led state to roll out early from federal unemployment programs, bringing the total number of states to 23, leaving 4 million workers with little or no benefits over the next month.
"Florida employers are also seeing employment growth as more Floridians, including some who have left the workforce, eagerly rejoin the workforce," said Dane Eagle, secretary for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, in a press release Monday. "Moving from this advantage will help meet the needs of small and large businesses that are ready to hire and expand."
Florida is only canceling the $ 300 additional weekly unemployment benefits, while most other states are also planning to add the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program available to contractors and gig workers, along with the additional Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program) cancel weeks full of benefits.
Florida's unemployment rate rose to 4.8% in April, still from its pandemic peak of 14.2% but higher than its pre-pandemic 3.3%. As of June 26, around 420,000 Florida workers will lose around $ 3,000 in additional unemployment benefits. Federal programs will expire nationwide on September 6th.
"From what you hear, 100% federal unemployment benefits have been immensely effective in halting any rise in poverty during the pandemic and helping the mostly low-paid, colored workforce who have been excluded from a dramatically divided economy," said he. Andrew Stettner, Unemployment Insurance Expert and Senior Fellow at the Century Foundation, told Yahoo Money. "Now these families will have little or nothing to do as they strive to find decent, stable and secure employment - and an open childcare center for their children."
Approximately 4 million workers in these 23 states will have their benefits cut or completely canceled from mid-June or late June. Together, they will lose $ 27.3 billion in benefits, an average of thousands of dollars per worker, according to analysis by the Century Foundation. That is money that does not flow into the economies of these countries either.
"Have the hardest time finding a job"
After the disappointing job report in April, the cancellation of federal programs among Republican governors gained momentum. House Republicans, including House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), issued a letter in early May calling on all GOP governors to withdraw from federal programs.
Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Vermont are the only states with GOP governors that have not yet canceled federal programs.
A customer walks past a sign in Larkspur, Calif. On April 2, 2021 that is now being displayed in a BevMo store. (Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
Arizona, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma are the only ones of the 23 states that offer a one-time return payment of between $ 1,000 and $ 2,000 with funds from the American Rescue Plan.
According to Stettner, the cut in benefits will disproportionately hurt people of color in many states. Two-thirds of Mississippi unemployment insurance recipients are black, while about half are black 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 in the southern states people of color - especially black workers - are the majority of welfare recipients," said Stettner. "They are the ones who have the hardest finding jobs because of discrimination, and they are the ones who have been hit hardest by COVID."
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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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