The End Of Federal Unemployment Benefits Could Be Bad News For Idaho Economy
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program expired at the end of last month. The plan provided jobless Idahoans an additional $600 a week on top of their regular unemployment.
Eric Stuen, a University of Idaho economics professor, said the enhanced benefits would have come out to about $84 million over the course of the year. That’s about 1.4% of Idaho’s entire economy.
“So it's not a huge number, but it is a significant bump to Idaho's economy to have 1.4 percent extra money coming in from the federal government," said Stuen.
Without the temporary boost in weekly unemployment checks, unemployment payments from the state max out at $448. Stuen said people may turn to other ways of covering expenses, like calling on family members to cover bills or asking landlords to defer payments.
“Nobody wants to be in a situation where they had a strong income and now they're unemployed and the bills that they have are mounting and they're not able to pay," said Stuen.
Widespread economic damage without federal assistance may mean less spending statewide. And that could spell trouble for already struggling local businesses.
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