Charleston Gazette-Mail, Huntington Herald-Dispatch – Gov. Jim Justice’s decision to cut off federal enhanced unemployment benefits 12 weeks early did not improve state employment rates or reduce unemployment rolls, but coincided with a sharp spike in West Virginia households experiencing financial hardships, an analysis released Thursday shows. Read the full article.
“With the pandemic still ongoing and the economy still recovering, West Virginia chose to prematurely end these benefits based on a fictitious and discredited narrative of lazy workers abusing pandemic unemployment benefits to avoid returning to work. And in doing so, West Virginia not only failed to boost employment, but also needlessly harmed struggling workers and undermined our economic recovery,” the report from the West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy concluded.
Justice announced in May he was cutting off the $300 a week supplemental benefit for unemployed West Virginians and eliminating a companion $300 a week benefit for self-employed and gig workers on June 19, citing claims from some employers that they were having difficulty filling job vacancies.
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