Expanded unemployment benefits expire as Americans face surge in delta variant

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(WASHINGTON) — Expanded pandemic unemployment benefits, put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, expired on Monday.

Impacting approximately 12 million Americans, the benefits had been in place for more than a year, providing an additional $300 per week in unemployment insurance as well as expanded benefits for gig workers and people who have been unemployed long term.

The White House said Friday there was no plan to reevaluate the end date of these benefits.

“As you know that was temporary, the emergency unemployment benefits,” Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

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“It’s important to take a step back to look at the national landscape here,” Jean-Pierre added. “In about half of all states, 24 governors have already made the decision to eliminate pandemic unemployment benefits, in the remaining 26 states, unemployment levels vary wildly from 3 to 7%.”

She also reiterated Biden’s calls for states that want to extend those benefits to use funding from the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Last week, new data from the Department of Labor showed a steep decline in the number of jobs added in August. Employers added just 235,000 jobs last month, down from the approximately 1 million jobs added in both June and July. These numbers come as the spread of the more contagious delta variant has appeared to slow the pace of economic recovery.

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