AMERICANS living in Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota can earn more on unemployment benefits than working due to increased weekly stimulus aid.
US businesses are raising concerns that they are having difficulties in encouraging people back to work as the extra $300 per week in unemployment is discouraging Americans from looking for a job.
President Joe Biden’s unemployment benefit has now been rejected by 11 states, with Republican governors saying “it’s impossible to fill jobs.”
Initially, five governors refused the federal coronavirus aid offered by Biden in their states.
But six more joined their ranks earlier this week and more look set to follow with GOP lawmakers saying they want to push people back to work.
According to an analysis carried out by Business Insider, Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota are the only states where the total average weekly state plus federal benefits is higher than the average weekly wage.
In North Dakota and Wyoming, it accounts for 100.4 percent and 103.4 percent of the average weekly wage respectively.
Montana was the highest at 111.2 percent of the average wage.
In another six states, the extra stimulus money means unemployment insurance equals more than 90 percent of the average weekly wage.
Kansas, Idaho, Iowa, Utah, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Hawaii have benefits that are upward of 90 percent of the average.
The analysis found that in many states, even with the extra $300, unemployment benefits fall far below the average weekly wage.
In Connecticut, it amounts to 59.6 percent of the average and in New York, it is 54.9 percent.
The lowest is in California where those on unemployment benefits are only receiving 53.6 percent of the weekly wage.
The data was compiled using data from the US Employment and Training Administration, and compared wages from the fourth quarter of 2020, the last time information was available.
The wages do not take into account the costs that come with employment, such as transportation and childcare.
Yet it also doesn’t include the additional benefits that can come with having a job such as healthcare; 401k plans; and the chance for job promotion and an increase in salary.
According to the data, the average unemployment benefit and $300 supplement exceeds the weekly minimum wage in every US state, Business Insider reports.
The federal minimum wage is $290 per week.
A Department of Labor report last week showed the country added just 266,000 jobs in April, fueling GOP claims that the benefits kept people at home.
President Biden was forced to defend the aid Monday, saying: “We're going to make it clear that anyone collecting unemployment who is offered a suitable job must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits.”
He added the $300 per week extra aid offered didn’t deter people from taking jobs.
“Twenty-two million people lost their jobs in this pandemic, through no fault of their own,” Biden said.
“For many of those folks, unemployment benefits are a lifeline.”
The move comes after Republicans called for Biden to drop the extra benefits last week.
The extra federal payments were brought in last year as a way to help unemployed people during the Covid pandemic, but the governors believe their states’ economies won’t recover if people are incentivized not to work.
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Analysis has shown those who made $32,000 before Covid hit is now making more in benefits staying at home and collecting checks than if they went back to work.
In 2019, an individual’s average salary was $31,133, meaning the average American could earn more money in coronavirus-era benefits.
The benefit is due to end in September.
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