Biden’s $400 unemployment boost would replace 86% of lost wages for many workers


  • President-elect Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief package, the American Rescue Plan, would boost unemployment benefits by $400 a week through September.
  • Unemployment benefits replaced about 38% of pre-layoff wages, on average, in the third quarter of 2020, according to Labor Department data.
  • An extra $400 a week would bump that wage replacement rate to 86%.

A $400 boost to weekly unemployment benefits being pushed by President-elect Joe Biden would replace about 86% of lost wages for the average worker, according to a CNBC analysis of Labor Department data.

Biden called for jobless benefits to be raised in a Thursday night speech outlining a $1.9 trillion Covid relief package, the American Rescue Plan. The $400 enhancement would be available through September 2021.

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He also wants to extend benefits through September for the long-term unemployed, in addition to sending more stimulus checks, rental assistance and other relief.

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Workers got $323 a week in state benefits, on average, in the third quarter last year, according to most recent U.S. Labor Department data. That aid replaced about 38% of their average pre-layoff wage, which was $843 a week.

A $400 increase in benefits would bump that replacement rate to 86%.

The supplement would go further in some states, especially those that tend to pay more meager benefits.

President-elect Biden unveils $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan
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