- The coronavirus pandemic had devastated the U.S. economy, with some speculating that upwards of 100,000 small businesses have closed permanently as a result.
- The coronavirus pandemic has also caused an unprecedented increase in unemployment claims. With unemployment at an all-time high earlier this year, President Trump back in March approved a $600 increase in weekly unemployment benefits. That increase expired in July.
- A new $300 increase in unemployment pay was recently approved by FEMA. States have to apply for the increase and 41 states have been granted approval thus far.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at the stock market, but there’s no denying that the coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the U.S. economy. It’s been estimated that more than 100,000 businesses have closed since the pandemic began, 16,000 of which are said to be restaurants. Related to that, the number of unemployment claims resulting from the pandemic hit levels the U.S. had never seen before in history. To this point, more than 40 million people were filing for unemployment benefits at the peak of the pandemic. As a point of contrast, the number of weekly unemployment claims in the period before the coronavirus pandemic hovered around 210,000.
As part of a broad effort to inject a bit of life into the economy, President Trump back in March signed off on a $2 trillion stimulus package that included a $600 increase in weekly unemployment benefits. The $600 bump provided a much-needed economic boost to millions of Americans but was never designed to last forever and expired at the end of July. Still, with the economy not anywhere close to where it was before the pandemic struck, millions of Americans are still in a position where they’re struggling to make ends meet.
The good news is that another unemployment boost is on the way. The bad news is that it’s going to be significantly less than $600. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently approved a $300 increase in weekly unemployment benefits and, as currently structured, individual states need to apply for the increase. Put differently, people in some states will be out of luck. Still, 41 states thus far have applied for and received approval to dole out an extra $300 in cash.
The 41 states that have been granted approval thus far reads as follows:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington state, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Some states, meanwhile, are planning to pay $400 in unemployment benefit, a list that includes Montana, West Virginia, Kansas, and Vermont.
The additional $300 in unemployment payouts is slated to last for at least three weeks upon which FEMA will re-evaluate which states will still need additional funding.