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HALF of Americans can make more in unemployment benefits than they would at work under stimulus package

Around half of all workers in the US could earn more in unemployment benefits than in their jobs before the coronavirus decimated the economy, official figures have revealed.
Millions of Americans have lost their jobs during the pandemic and many have been unable to register for unemployment benefits due to problems with the online process.
President Trump in March signed a stimulus package that included a $600 boost to weekly unemployment benefits, to last until July 31. 
This increase added to state benefits should give an average weekly payment of $978. On average almost $378 was paid in unemployment benefit to each claimant last year, according to the Labor Department.

On average half of full-time workers earned $957 a week or less in the first quarter of this year - around $20 a week more than the combined unemployment benefits, the figures show.

As of yesterday, official US statistics show that 26.5 million people have applied for unemployment benefits since March 15.
Some workers appear to be better off being laid off in order to receive the extra benefit, instead of staying on the payroll for a job with potential reduced hours.
According to calculations by the New York Times, workers in more than half of states will receive, on average, more in unemployment benefits than they did from their normal salaries.
In 2009 following the global economic crash, a federal stimulus package increased unemployment benefits by just $25 per week. 
But some business owners say the current relief package is complicating strategies for reopening their companies as it could create a disincentive for employees returning to work when the lockdown is relaxed, according to the Wall Street Journal
The Congressional Budget Office released a report last week predicting that 27 million Americans will lose their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis this year. The CBO's jobless rate projections per quarter are shown in the graph above
The Congressional Budget Office released a report last week predicting that 27 million Americans will lose their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis this year. The CBO's jobless rate projections per quarter are shown in the graph above

A poll revealed yesterday that idled workers encountered downed websites and clogged phone lines, as the state governments that administer the program have been overwhelmed by applicants.
On Tuesday hundreds of Americans lined up to access much-needed food handouts in Los Angeles and Prospect, Pennsylvania as the impact of the pandemic on  the economy continues to worsen.
Masses of cars waited in line for the drive-thru food giveaway in Pico Rivera, California, as volunteers wearing face masks, gloves and high-vis jackets helped dish out crucial supplies.
Lawmakers say replacing 100 per cent of workers' earnings was designed to keep the economy afloat and provide a vital lifeline.
Wayne Vroman, an economist with The Urban Institute, told CNBC: 'This size of an increase is unprecedented. So $600 is in different league; it could go a long distance in stabilizing American household income and help to maintain purchasing power for the consumer sector of economy.'
The current nationwide unemployment figure makes up just over 16 per cent of America's workforce, according to the latest Labor Department figures released last week.
The staggering spike in unemployment has wiped out all of the jobs gained during the longest employment boom in American history and has left economists warning the unemployment rate could reach as high as 20 per cent for April - the highest rate since the Great Depression of the 1930s.   
In California alone, 3.2 million people have filed for unemployment claims since March 15.
States like New Jersey and Georgia have struggled to find staffers who know how to update computer systems that run on decades-old technology. 
Others that have moved to newer technology have also encountered technical woes.
States have also had to incorporate enhanced federal benefits that provide an extra $600 per week and extend coverage to Uber drivers and other independent contractors.
On top of that, many states entered the crisis with fewer workers to handle unemployment claims as an improving economy had allowed them to cut staff. 

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