Unemployed Arizonans brace for scheduled end of federal assistance

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues on, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have had to consider an extension of federal unemployment benefits. We spoke with ASU economist, Lee McPheters about the possible extension.

Currently, federal unemployment benefits are set to expire on July 26. Alone in the state, approximately 350,000 are on unemployment, and 600,000 are on pandemic unemployment assistance.

In a July 21 letter from Gov. Doug Ducey, the state is seeking funds to guarantee the unemployed will be eligible to receive at least 100% of their weekly earnings. The state has already paid out $640 million out of its $1 billion unemployment trust fund since the pandemic began.

According to McPheters, Arizona’s jobless benefits are the second-lowest in the country, so losing that federal aid could have a severe impact on the state.

Lawmakers are currently working on a possible extension.

Lee McPheters, Research Professor, Seidman Research Institute at W.P. Carey School of Business

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