Super-charged unemployment benefits may finally be starting to bite.
The federal government has been providing extra money for those collecting unemployment benefits since the pandemic struck nearly a year ago. These enhanced unemployment benefits started out at $600 above the regular weekly benefit levels, which vary from state to state. Last summer they were reduced. Today, the federal government kicks in an extra $300.
When the enhanced benefits were first announced, some Republican lawmakers noticed that because of the enhancement a large share of those on unemployment would receive more in benefits than they had earned while on the job. This could have the consequence of preventing workers from returning to the workforce. If someone can earn more by not working, it’s pretty hard to get him or her back onto a payroll.
This was a theoretical problem last year but not something to seriously worry about. We