The federal government's enhanced unemployment benefits have offered unemployed Americans a pretty generous financial cushion over the course of the pandemic. Now, those benefits are largely expiring, and there is a great deal of doom and gloom circulating over it:
Millions of jobless Americans lost their unemployment benefits on Monday, leaving only a handful of economic support programs for those who are still being hit financially by the year-and-a-half-old coronavirus pandemic.
Two critical programs expired on Monday. One provided jobless aid to self-employed and gig workers and another provided benefits to those who have been unemployed more than six months. Further, the Biden administration's $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit also ran out on Monday.
It's estimated that roughly 8.9 million Americans will lose all or some of these benefits.
The headline of that crackerjack Associated Press article is "jobless Americans will have few options as benefits expire." Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, meanwhile, warned that "millions of jobless workers are going to suffer" due to the lapse of benefits, while finance analyst Kristin Myers told NPR that "a lot of folks here are going to be impacted, and it doesn't seem as if some of the gains that could be made are offsetting some of the losses."
Indeed, 8.9 million Americans losing unemployment benefits does seem like a staggeringly high number. You know what is larger, though? The number of jobs currently available throughout the U.S.:
That's just nuts. Every American losing jobless benefits could go out and get a job and we'd still have 1.1 million jobs left over.
So when the Associated Press warns you that Americans have "few options" once their benefits run out, just remember that "getting a job and earning money as a productive worker" is among those options.
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