$600 Weekly Unemployment Boost Cost Nearly $250 Billion in Total

Michael Rainey
·1-min read

The $600 boost to weekly unemployment benefits created by the CARES Act cost the federal government nearly $250 billion from early April to the end of July, according to Labor Department data reported by The Wall Street Journal Monday.

The peak period for payments was the week ending June 26, the Journal said, when $18.6 billion in benefits was distributed – the rough equivalent of 31 million $600 payments.

Unemployed workers in the state of California receive the largest total benefits ($38.4 billion), while those in South Dakota received the least ($177.1 million). Adjusted for workforce size, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania received the most, with Michigan getting about $2.9 million per 1,000 workers, nearly twice the national average of $1.5 million.

Congress passed the enhanced benefit in March as large parts of the economy were shutting down and millions of workers lost their jobs. The boost – officially called Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – expired at the end of July.

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