Most unemployed Americans chose to return to work instead of receiving the additional $ 600 unemployment benefit

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When unemployed Americans began receiving the additional $ 600 a week in unemployment benefits in April, critics of the program argued that it would discourage people from returning to work, because two-thirds of beneficiaries received more money from their unemployment benefits than of their jobs. . But in reality, more than half of the unemployed workers who received these enhanced benefits under the CARES Act returned to work before the benefits expired at the end of July, according to research published Thursday by the JPMorgan Chase Institute JPM, -0.17%.

This finding is based on an analysis of more than 44 million households with a JPMorgan / Chase checking account from January 2019 to November 2020.

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The researchers also found that after the improved benefit of $ 600 a week expired in July, the rate of unemployed Americans returning to work did not increase significantly. And three weeks after the fringe benefit expired, the unemployment rate returned to July levels. However, without the added benefit of $ 600 per week, Americans drew half of the savings they accumulated when the $ 600 was in effect, previous research from the JPMorgan Chase Institute found. At that time, households experiencing unemployment also increased spending relative to employed households. For every dollar of supplemental unemployment insurance, the average unemployed family spent between $ 0.29 and $ 0.43 more than it would have otherwise, according to the report released Thursday. “This underscores the importance of unemployment benefits, both for families and for the economy as a whole, as nearly half of the unemployed today face long-term unemployment,” said Fiona Greig, co-chair of the JPMorgan Chase Institute. More than 11 million unemployed Americans face a gulf in unemployment benefits if lawmakers fail to reinstate two CARES Act programs: the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. The PUA program allowed freelancers, freelancers, concert workers, and independent contractors to collect unemployment benefits. Help those who have exhausted their state unemployment aid. Americans must also stop receiving the supplemental unemployment benefit of $ 300 a week in mid-March in the absence of any legislative action. Unemployed Americans are likely to continue to receive improved unemployment benefits given that it is included in President Joe Biden‘s $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal, as well as a counterstimulus proposal endorsed by at least 10 Republican lawmakers. Biden’s package calls for increasing enhanced benefits to $ 400 per week through September. The Republican proposal calls for keeping the $ 300 per week until the end of June.