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Economics

Black America’s Jobs Gap Makes Case for Keeping Extra Benefits

  • Black jobless rate tends to surge higher, recover slowly
  • GOP shift means benefit extension likely in next stimulus bill

Federal unemployment benefits have been especially vital for Black Americans, who’ve suffered some of the worst job losses in the pandemic.

That argument is helping to sway some in Congress toward keeping the extra payments in place after next month’s deadline.

A wave of protests against racial injustice has shone a spotlight on disparities in the economy, like a Black jobless rate that continued to rise last month even as headline unemployment eased.

Early in the pandemic, Congress approved an extra $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits. They’re due to run out at the end of July -- one of a series of summer dates when crisis-era fiscal props are due to be removed, testing the economy’s strength.