The latest data from the United States Department of Labor (DOL) shows that 1.4 million more Americans have filed for unemployment, the first increase since the pandemic intensified in March. DOL says about 32 million people are receiving unemployment benefits, though that figure could include double-counting by some states.
The current data is an increase from the 1.3 million reported last week. Additionally, about 975,000 people have applied for assistance under a program that extends unemployment benefits to the self employed and gig workers.
The news comes as the $600 additional unemployment benefit, credited with keeping millions of people afloat as the economy founders, is due to expire by the end of the month.
Both Republicans and Democrats plan to pass a coronavirus relief bill by the end of the month. Both sides agree on direct payment to Americans, aid for schools, health spending, and shoring up the Paycheck Protection Program, a crucial lifeline for small businesses that have been hurt by the virus.
Where the two parties disagree is on liability protections. Republicans have proposed passing legislation that would protect businesses and other organizations from personal injury lawsuits related to the virus. President Donald Trump is also advocating for a payroll tax cut, but neither party has shown interest in his proposal. Republicans also want to keep the cost of the bill low––they’re proposing a bill that would offer roughly $1 trillion in aid, a significant drop from the $3 trillion in federal aid the House voted on in March.
“Democrats included funding for the U.S. Postal Service, the November elections, food assistance, transit systems, student loan relief, and a wide range of other programs. Republicans, who aim to keep the overall cost of the bill down, are unlikely to support these proposals,” according to Reuters.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.