23 States Cutting Off Enhanced Unemployment Benefits Early

23 States Cutting Off Enhanced Unemployment Benefits Early

Florida is the 23rd state to announce that it is ending the $300 per week boost to unemployment benefits provided by the federal government. The payments will end on June 26, about 10 weeks before the program is set to expire at the federal level, the state said Monday.

All 23 states withdrawing from the program are led by Republican governors, who say that the extra payments are responsible for slow employment growth in their states by making it easier for unemployed workers to turn down or avoid getting new jobs, resulting in a labor shortage, especially in low-wage sectors.

“Transitioning away from this benefit will help meet the demands of small and large businesses who are ready to hire and expand their workforce,” Dane Eagle, secretary of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity, said.  

However, many labor experts say the enhanced unemployment benefits play only a limited role in the disappointing job growth in recent weeks, while citing a host of other factors including severe job market dislocation, fears of illness and unresolved child care issues.

Florida’s announcement leaves just four states led by Republican governors – Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska and Vermont – to retain the program.

All told, about 4 million people will be affected by the states’ decisions to end the program prematurely in June. According to data from the Century Foundation, the collective loss of benefits in the 23 states will come to roughly $27.3 billion.