Will Delaware extend pandemic jobless benefits beyond the current deadline?
Signs don’t point in that direction, with the Delaware Department of Labor using a barrage of social media posts to inform recipients that benefits will not be available come September. One such post went live a few hours ago.
Earlier this year, the state did reinstate the work search requirement for unemployment benefits.
Two messages were sent to Carney’s office seeking comment on whether benefits will be extended.
President Joe Biden declined to extend federal benefits beyond the current deadline but suggested some states extend benefits by using their own Covid-19 funds. His statement appeared to be aimed at states with high jobless rates like California and New York.
Delaware’s jobless rate of 5.6% approaches the 5.4% national figure and remains below neighboring states.
States with Republican governors have typically ended the benefits with strong support from the business community.
Neighboring Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan attempted to end pandemic benefits but ended up with an unfavorable state court decision and did not pursue the matter further. Maryland’s jobless rate remains above Delaware’s figure.
Many in the business community have called for the end to the $300 a week benefit, claiming it is keeping people at home as hospitality and other sectors of the economy struggle with filling vacant positions.
Recent reports had not shown a strong correlation between more people going back to work when benefits ended.
Analysts say various factors, from one spouse staying at home to higher child care costs to persistent fears over Covid vaccination,s are also keeping people from returning to work.
Thanks to pandemic funds from the federal government and higher than expected tax receipts Delaware has a healthy surplus that could be tapped for extended benefits.
Then again, Carney might not want to risk a rise in the jobless rate if more workers did stay on the sidelines.