The federal government has been chipping in an extra $600 a week to state unemployment benefits, making the program much more generous. Many workers can now earn more on unemployment than they did when they had a job. An analysis done by Isabel Soto of the American Action Forum found that the maximum unemployment benefit amount is greater than median wage in all states except the District of Columbia. That may be discouraging some workers from seeking work and leaving the unemployment rolls.
“Using 2019 wage and unemployment data, an upper-bound estimate of 92.8 million workers (or 63 percent of the workforce) typically make below the maximum weekly unemployment benefits under the CARES Act,” Soto wrote.
These super-sized benefits, however, are set to run out in July.
In addition to claims for regular unemployment benefits, the government now offers two new forms of unemployment benefits to business owners, self-employed, gig-workers, and independent contractors who would not ordinarily qualify for unemployment benefits.
The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending June 6 were in Puerto Rico, Nevada, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, New York, California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Connecticut.
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending June 27 were in Michigan (+18,668), Indiana (+15,496), Texas (+7,046), Virginia (+6,662), and Kentucky (+5,794), while the largest decreases were in Oklahoma (-40,208), Florida (-11,313), Maryland (-9,926), Georgia (-8,240), and California (-7,132).