Millions of Americans will lose jobless benefits if Congress doesn’t pass stimulus bill

Published: Feb. 12, 2021 at 1:26 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Jobless claims are down from the previous week and so are continuing claims.

But it’s not all good news in the labor market that’s still reeling.

More than 10 million U.S. workers are unemployed despite more than 12.5 million jobs reclaimed since the peek of the pandemic in March and April.

The jobs market is climbing its way out of the pandemic’s grasp but it’s been a slow recovery.

Jobless claims last week were higher than what economists forecasted but lower than the previous week.

“For the last five weeks, jobless claims have been falling. And, we’re at a five week low. So, that’s a good thing. We’re trending in the right direction,” said Securian Financial Services Advisor David Wald.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Emergency Compensation programs were extended under December’s stimulus package which many unemployed workers rely on. But now, they’re fate is in the hands of lawmakers.

“This COVID bill will be bigger and bolder and bring significantly more help,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

But, if a new package isn’t passed in time to extend those programs once more, a CNBC analysis reports nearly 11 million Americans will lose unemployment benefits by April.

“If these people that are truly hurt by this pandemic don’t get the relief, we’re going to see a lot more problems long-term in this economy,” said Wald.

Democrats are pushing ahead with a process allowing them to approve a rescue package with no Republican votes.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the goal is to have it passed within two weeks.

President Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief proposal would extend aid until Aug. 29.

However, there’s been push back from Congress about funding a new COVID relief package before all the money from the previous stimulus has been spent.

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