Stimulus calls for expansion of unemployment insurance, economist fears it’s premature

Local News

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – A historic number of unemployment claims were filed in Ohio last week, and nationally, the record was shattered.

Between March 15-21, more than 180,000 claims were filed in Ohio and almost 3.3 million new claims were filed across the U.S.

It comes as the U.S. Senate has passed a stimulus package that is now waiting for the House of Representative’s vote.

The $2 trillion bill calls for expanded unemployment insurance. Specifically, $600 a week from the federal government on top of the state benefits.

Some Miami Valley residents who have been laid off are wondering if this is enough while a local economist is tracking the long-term impact this could have.

“I think all of us, especially me working for a small business, not knowing if that business is going to be there when this quarantine or shelter in place is lifted, it’s very unnerving,” said Mary Armacida.

Armacida was laid off last Friday from a local small screen printing shop.

She said she was excited to hear the Senate passed the stimulus bill, but said she still had many questions, particularly about the boost to unemployment insurance.

In the proposal, it said the federal government would give jobless workers an extra $600 a week on top of their state benefits for four months.

Dr. Jeff Haymond, an economics professor at Cedarville University, fears this measure is premature.

“If the economy is doing well in two months, we should not be extending that,” said Haymond. “We were already having problems finding enough workforce before this and if we get back on track, we could have that problem again.”

Haymond said the stimulus package has incentives to small businesses to stay open and keep their employees on the payroll.

He added there will be businesses that go under but since the underlying issue is a health crisis, this economic downturn will end.

“Just as the viciousness of the downturn that we’re going through right now, it’s going to be matched by a sharp upward swing on the other side and there’s going to be a lot of opportunity,” said Haymond. “Unfortunately, we’re going to have to get through the pain of the next two, four, six, eight weeks, that’s the wild card in this situation.”

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