Federal Unemployment Aid Is Now a Political Lightning Rod

June 7, 2021

Of the more than 4 million people whose jobless benefits are going to be cut off in the next few weeks, Bre Starr will be among the first.

That is because Starr — a 34-year-old pizza delivery driver who has been out of work for more than a year — lives in Iowa, where the governor has decided to withdraw from all federal pandemic-related jobless assistance next Saturday.

Iowa is one of 25 states, all led by Republicans, that have recently decided to halt some or all emergency benefits months ahead of schedule.

Roughly 41% of the nation’s 9.3 million unemployed fall into the long-term category, defined as more than 26 weeks. About 28% of the total have been unemployed for more than a year.

Historically, this group, which is disproportionately made up of Black and older Americans, has had a tougher time getting hired. That pattern was likely to be repeated even in the unusual circumstances caused by the pandemic, said Carl Van Horn, founding director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

New York Times, June 5, 2021

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