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More than a million Americans are accessing unemployment funds created for the extended joblessness period and things are going to get even more challenging in the coming months. A recent study suggested that individuals accessing the unemployment funds will find it harder to find a job in the days to come. The employment crisis is similar to the one that America witnessed during the Great Depression and situation is extremely grim. All this will eventually drain the unemployment aid putting additional strain on the US economy.
The CARES Act
A federal law to provide relief during the coronavirus, the Cares Act enacted in the month of March, is offering an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to the jobless workers who had ended up exhausting their state relief. This was implemented via a program called Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).
For the uninitiated, majority of the states offer a maximum of 26 weeks of unemployment benefits to the unemployed folks. Some states extend the unemployment benefit to lesser time period. Figures released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities pegged the average weekly unemployment benefit at $378.
According to data released by Labor Department for the month of May, over 1.1 million American citizens were collecting the benefits under the program, which twice the number from the previous week. Now, this data doesn’t quite reveal the actual scenario as the Labor Department collated data from only 35 states.
It’s being estimated that thousands of unemployed people in the US would have been struggling for survival if the Congress didn’t come up with the PEUC. This also underscores the fact that the Congress took an important step starting the program and savings thousands from being sucked into the economical crisis.
Stiffer Climb for the Long-term Unemployed
Experts believe that a larger chunk of the people who availed the unemployment benefit lost their job even before the pandemic situation worsened. The reason behind this is that the pandemic situation isn’t even into its sixth month and most of them have exhausted their state unemployment benefits. Economists are bracketing these people as “Long-term Unemployed” and they’re into a greater unstable position compared to the ones who lost their jobs a few weeks after the pandemic had set in.
Long-term unemployed folks are at a greater risk of facing stiffer challenges while looking for a job. The reason behind this is that employers aren’t quite confident on hiring people who have been unemployed for longer duration. A glaring employment gap stigmatizes these people and they find it extremely hard to land up with a proper job in a reputed company.
Statistics for the month of May reveal that over 21 million Americans didn’t have a proper job, which is a matter of immense concern because most of them might have been unemployed for more than 6 months.
Most of the states are planning on offering extended benefits for an extra 13 to 20 weeks as a countermeasure to tackle the problem of long-term unemployment.