Press Release

Unemployment Benefits and Returning to Work

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act increased the unemployment benefit amount so much that many workers now have more income on unemployment than if they had continued working. As states are preparing to reopen their economies, it is important that individuals have the proper incentives and support to return to work, writes AAF’s Labor Market Policy Data Analyst Isabel Soto.

Her key points:

  • An upper-bound estimate of 64 million workers typically make below the maximum weekly unemployment benefits;
  • In the majority of states, the maximum unemployment benefit is now greater than the median wage;
  • Nearly 3 million workers in 10 states could seek to return to work in the next week; and
  • Georgia has issued an emergency rule that allows workers who make less than $300 a week or less to continue receiving unemployment benefits; this rule would affect less than 10 percent of the state labor force but enables low-wage employees to return to work without seeing a drastic drop in their earnings.

Read the research.