Florida to End “Benefits” That Deter Americans From Returning to Work

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Florida is the latest Republican state to declare that it will end the federal program that gives unemployment benefits of $300 a week; this comes amid the growing debate that aid deters Americans from returning to work. 

On Monday, the Department of Economic Opportunity announced that beginning on June 27, the state of Florida will cease participating in the Unemployment Compensation program that gives an extra $300 per week in unemployment benefits. 

Separate Programs in the Sunshine State

Despite this announcement, Florida will still be participating in two separate programs. Included among them is the one that gives jobless benefits to gig workers, as well as to those who are not eligible for benefits. The program(s) furthermore extend state unemployment benefits once they have been exhausted. 

Dane Eagle, executive director of the Department of Economic Opportunity, said in a statement that transitioning away from the unemployment benefits will assist in meeting the needs of small and large businesses that are now able to hire and expand their workforce. 

The new rules come in light of the payroll report last month by the Labor Department. In the report, it revealed that the economy only added 266,000 jobs. This number is far from the one million jobs forecasted by Refinitiv economists. 

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The Unemployment Benefits Deter Americans From Going Back to Work

Meanwhile, Republicans were quick to blame the unemployment benefits for the drop in job growth. However, some experts cited fears of contracting COVID-19 and lack of child care for the hiring shortage. 

At present, there are around 8.2 million fewer jobs than there were before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the U.S. economy in February 2020. 

At present, the unemployment rate in the state of Florida is at 4.8%. This represents 487,000 jobless Americans out of roughly 10 million.

The average unemployment benefit per state is around $330 per week. However, with the federal supplement, Americans are collecting $630 per week in unemployment benefits. This number is roughly $32,000 annually or double the nation’s minimum wage. 

However, without the federal supplement, residents of Florida can only receive the highest amount of $275 every week in support. This is among the lowest benefits in the country. 

Despite the data collected by Labor Department, Biden and other Democrats rejected the idea that Americans are opting to stay at home and collect the unemployment benefits instead of going back to work. 

Two weeks ago, during a press conference, Biden told reporters that they do not see “much evidence” to support the claim that the benefits deter Americans from going back to work. The president added that instead, Americans are willing to work. 

Yet Biden made a statement saying that he wants to make it clear for anyone who’s collecting the unemployment benefits while offered a suitable job. He said that people must take the job, or else they will lose the unemployment benefits that they’re receiving.