BEIJING( 28 (Xinhua) — Two-thirds (68 percent) of the nearly 35 million people who lost their jobs during the U.S. outbreak receive disemployment insurance plus $600 a week in federal relief that exceeds their earnings at work, according to a new study from the University of Chicago.
In fact, one in five eligible workers receives twice as much benefits as their work, the researchers said. They estimate the median ratio of unemployment benefits to lost wage income at 134 per cent. Unemployment benefits outstripped wage losses in all states, with Maryland at 127 percent and New Mexico at 177 percent.
The $600-a-week federal government is part of its $2.2 trillion stimulus package, but the extra unemployment benefits expire at the end of July. The Washington Post recently quoted sources as saying that U.S. President Donald Trump has privately opposed the extension of the benefit because of concerns that it will reduce workers’ incentive to return to work.
The University of Chicago study notes that the benefit is a “substantial wage expansion” for low-income workers, but notes that many workers may also lose health insurance when they lose their wages.
The Federal Reserve said in a report On Wednesday that not working and earning enough to make ends meet is becoming a major obstacle to the U.S. economic recovery.
“Many unemployed workers are reluctant to go back to work, some attribute it to the fact that unemployment benefits are too generous and some say they are motivated by security concerns,” the Fed’s beige book reads. “