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Report: Cutting Unemployment Benefits Generated Minimal Job Gains

Depending on the state where U.S. residents live, they had a 50/50 chance of having their enhanced federal unemployment benefits terminated early. Yet, regardless of the outcome – either the benefits ending early or continuing until the Sept. 6 deadline – job growth throughout the U.S. has been about the same, according to a Wednesday (Sept. 1) Wall Street Journal report.

As of Monday (Sept. 6), the last day for federal pandemic unemployment assistance, approximately 8.8 million people across the country will lose benefits altogether, while three million will see benefits plunge by $300, according to a previous PYMNTS report. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the average person would receive about $321 without the PUA, about 38% of their wages prior to being laid off.

Many have questioned the need for additional unemployment compensation, particularly at a time when approximately 832,000 new positions have been added every month since May. With the new jobs influx, the unemployment rate has dipped to about 5.4%, an indication of an economic rebound.

Read more: Federal Pandemic Jobless Benefits Ending Despite Rising COVID-19 Cases

Ahead of the Sept. 6 termination of PUA benefits, 25 states had ended the bolstered compensation over the summer, according to The Wall Street Journal. The common thread among states, according to the report, is that job growth has been about the same. Texas, which had reopened in the spring and ended benefits in June, saw a 1.45 percent payroll increase in July compared to April, while California, which removed all restrictions in June while continuing PUA, saw a 1.73 percent increase.

Yet, jobless claims are increasing amid the fast-spreading COVID-19 delta variant, per PYMNTS data. New unemployment claims were up 4,000 for the week ending Aug. 21 for a total of 353,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The new jobless rate was a bit higher than the 350,000 that analysts had predicted.

See also: New Jobless Claims Inch up as Delta Soars and Labor Shortage Continues

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