Laid-off workers collecting federal unemployment benefits got some disappointing news from the nation’s U.S. Labor Secretary Sunday (July 5).
Eugene Scalia told Fox News Sunday the enhanced $600 a week jobless benefits are no longer needed.
“It was a really important thing to do as we were shutting our economy down,” he told the network. “Americans across the country were basically being told, and we needed to take measures, but they were basically being told, you can’t go to work right now.”
The 16-week program expires on July 31.
While House Democrats support extending it through January. But the Republican-controlled Senate has rejected the idea.
“During the so-called Great Recession 10, 12 years ago when we had a downturn, the federal unemployment benefit was $25 a week,” Scalia told Fox.
At a press conference on Thursday (July 2) President Donald Trump said payroll tax cuts could be included in the next COVID-19 relief bill.
“We’re working on a phase four, we’re working with Congress,” Trump said. “Work has started. (U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin) can give you a little briefing. Talking about payroll tax cuts, we’re talking about more money being infused. And it comes back to us.”
Before the holiday weekend, the House of Representatives passed an extension of the forgivable loan aid through the Paycheck Protection Program.
The new legislation will extend the deadline to apply for forgivable loans through August 8 from its original June 30 date. The Senate passed the extension unanimously.
Last week, the U.S. added a record 4.8 million nonfarm jobs in June and the unemployment rate fell to 11 percent, lower than expected. At the same time, the number of Americans who filed jobless claims dropped, but still topped 1.4 million.
But data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that while the official jobless rate was more than 13 percent in May, 47 percent of the U.S. adult population actually lack a job. Unlike the official unemployment rate, the broader figure known as the employment-to-population ratio counts adults who are not working and no longer actively seeking employment.