On September 6, Labor Day, around 35 million people (10% of the U.S. population) are scheduled to lose unemployment income. 9.2 million people are currently receiving benefits from either the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program or the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. According to the Census Household Pulse Survey, the average household that is receiving UI benefits has 3.8 members in it.
Around half of those on UI will see their benefits drop to $0 while the remaining half will see their benefits cut by $300 per week, which is equivalent to $15,200 per year.
Those formerly on UI will also cut their spending by about $145 per week ($7,540 annually), which will have negative effects on the revenue and employment of the businesses they patronize.
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that President Joe Biden believes it is "appropriate" for the $300-per-week federal UI boost to expire as scheduled. Twenty-six states—each led by a Republican governor except Louisiana—have already ended the emergency UI aid, and the Biden administration did not try to stop them.
Republicans have insisted that the emergency UI programs are dissuading people from returning to the workforce. Contrary to the claims — ending the benefits prematurely would do little to boost hiring. A Wall Street Journal analysis found that "states that ended enhanced federal unemployment benefits early have so far seen about the same job growth as states that continued offering the pandemic-related extra aid."
The benefit cut-off will come just days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration's nationwide eviction moratorium, putting millions of people at imminent risk of losing their homes.
"It's going to be a perfect storm for a lot of folks," Jordan Dewbre, a staff attorney for the New York-based community organization BronxWorks.
Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, explained, "The unwillingness to extend emergency benefits—or even debate it—shows how inured we've become to plight of the unemployed. With eviction protections ending at the same time, long-term unemployed workers are now vulnerable to lasting economic damage. Black and Latino workers have the least in savings built up to navigate this transitional period."