Michigan Senate Votes to End $300 Weekly Federal Unemployment Benefits

The Michigan Senate voted 19-16 to approve House Bill 4434, which aims to end the state’s participation in boosted $300/week federal unemployment program.

Republicans have argued the benefit hinders economic recovery 15 months after the pandemic started.

Business owners told lawmakers on June 17 they can’t find workers, even after hiking pay, signing bonuses, and flexible hours. Some industries have seen as many as 35% of workers not return post-COVID-19, leaving some gas stations wondering if they’ll get enough gas.

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First Democratic State Will End Its Unemployment Benefits

John Bel Edwards

Louisiana will be the first Democratic-controlled state to roll back its $300 a week unemployment benefits enacted by federal programs.

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the bill Wednesday that stops the weekly payments on July 31, but raises Louisiana’s maximum jobless benefits to $275, starting in 2022, according to the legislation.

Louisiana is joined by 25 other Republican led states that have prematurely slashed the weekly pandemic benefits from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which were not set to expire until Sept. 6, 2021. Jobless claims were up 412,000 last week, according to the Department of Labor.

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‘In Survival Mode’: Michigan Business Owners Say Boosted Benefits Disrupting Industries

Michigan business owners say federal $300/week boosted unemployment benefits are exacerbating a worker shortage partly caused by COVID-19 fears.

Roy Baldwin, owner of Baldwin’s Smokehouse Barbecue in Buena Vista Township, says COVID-19, rising food prices, and a worker shortage have hit his store hard. Since opening his store in 2019, he says food product prices have doubled.

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New Jobless Claims Decrease to 730,000, Economists Expected 845,000

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims decreased to 730,000 last week as the economy continued to suffer the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics figure released Thursday represented a decrease in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending Feb. 13, in which there were 841,000 new jobless claims reported. That number was revised down from the 861,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.

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New Jobless Claims Increase to 861,000, Economists Expected 773,000

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims increased to 861,000 last week as the economy continued to suffer the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics figure released Thursday represented an increase in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending Feb. 6, in which there were 848,000 new jobless claims reported. That number was revised up from the 793,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.

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Commentary: 4.4 Million Lose Unemployment Benefits Since August as Pelosi Puts Politics Above People

Small business relief, supporting 5.2 million small businesses and 50 million jobs, ran out on Aug. 8 and airlines ran out of money last month as massive layoffs have been ensuing.

In the meantime, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) continues to refuse a deal from President Donald Trump to extend these CARES Act programs — even if it means she loses a few seats in the House over it.

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Lawmakers Approve COVID-19 Liability Bills, Extend Unemployment Benefits, and Nursing Home Policy Changes

After a session exceeding 12 hours, Michigan lawmakers passed bills replacing a framework for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 executive orders deemed unconstitutional by the Michigan Supreme Court.

Lawmakers approved measures aiming to allow local governments to meet electronically for any reason through Jan. 1; extend unemployment benefits to a full 26 weeks; change nursing home policy barring nursing homes from caring for COVID-19 patients unless the building provides a “designated area” for those patients; and, by Nov. 15, implement a statewide policy allowing in-person visitations for all nursing home residents.

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Trump Signs Executive Orders to Extend Unemployment Benefits, Suspend Some Payroll Taxes, Defer

President Donald Trump on Saturday signed executive orders to supplement unemployment benefits for workers who lose their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic by $400 a week and suspend payroll taxes for those earning less than $100,000 a year.

He also signed orders freezing evictions in federal housing and deferring student loan payments through the end of 2020.

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Michigan Investigates Alleged Shakedown By Unemployment Agency Workers Accused of Stealing Benefits

The State of Michigan is investigating whether new employees of the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) are stealing funds from jobless residents, multiple media outlets report.

The workers are accused of stealing and charging clients to receive their benefits more quickly, WDIV reported. This is happening even as Michigan is among several states experiencing fraudulent claims being submitted, and they temporarily stopped payments.

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COVID-19 Unemployment Claims Approach 39 Million Since Mid-March

Even as much of the country eases restrictions and slowly begins to reopen state economies, new jobless claims continued their COVID-19 spike last week, increasing the total number of those filing for unemployment benefits to nearly 39 million since mid-March.

According to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor, an additional 2.44 million workers filed for benefits in the week ending May 16. That’s down 249,000 from the revised number of claims filed in the week ending May 9.

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