Weekly federal benefits expiring at end of July
BATON ROUGE - At the end of the month, the weekly $600 federal unemployment benefit will expire, leaving millions of Americans wondering what to do next. Many people out of work have depended on the benefit to cover costs during the pandemic.
According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, the latest data shows Louisiana unemployment is at 13.3 percent. Now that states, including Louisiana, have rolled back some of their opening plans by closing bars, it's likely more people will be applying for unemployment again.
The initial unemployment insurance claims for the week ending July 4, 2020 rose to 31,417 from the week ending June 27, 2020 total of 21,976. For a comparison, during the week ending July 6, 2019, 1,844 initial claims were filed. Since the start of the pandemic, LWC has pumped out over $4 billion in unemployment benefits to Louisiana residents, compared to $150 million last year.
With the weekly federal benefit expiring at the end of July, LWC Secretary Ava Dejoie is encouraging people to look for work.
"I think the thing to do now is to look for work," said Dejoie. "There are employers advertising. We have job listings on our website. We're doing virtual job fair. Now is the time to get back into the job market. We'll be putting work search back in, which is part of the normal process when you're on unemployment insurance."
There is hope that additional federal weekly benefits will continue beyond July, but nothing has been decided yet.