another deep dive from Tim Taylor -- into the unemployment numbers....some surprises and illuminations.
Exploding US Unemployment Rates: A Peek Inside
Most state UI [Unemployment Insurance] systems replace about half of prior weekly earnings, up to some maximum. Before the expansion of UI during the coronavirus crisis, average weekly UI payments were $387 nationwide, ranging from an average of $215 per week in Mississippi to $550 per week in Massachusetts. ... The CARES Act—a $2 trillion relief package aimed at alleviating the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic—extends the duration of UI benefits by 13 weeks and increases payments by $600 per week through July 31st. This implies that maximum UI benefits will exceed 90 percent of average weekly wages in all states.
Roughly five of every six recipients would receive benefits that exceeded the weekly amounts they could expect to earn from work during those six months. The amount, on average, that recipients spent on food, housing, and other goods and services would be closer to what they spent when employed than it would be if the increase in unemployment benefits was not extended. ... In CBO's assessment, the extension of the additional $600 per week would probably reduce employment in the second half of 2020, and it would reduce employment in calendar year 2021. The effects from reduced incentives to work would be larger than the boost to employment from increased overall demand for goods and services.My own sense is that a blanket extension of the additional unemployment benefits is probably the politically easy choice. But the pragmatic choice would be to start thinking more carefully about how structuring these payments in a way that would strike a better balance helping those who need it with incentives to return to work.
-- via my feedly newsfeed