Insured unemployed rate is lowest in states that ended expanded benefits early


MINOT, N.D. — It shouldn’t be a particularly controversial argument that expanded payments from the government to unemployed people might result in a higher rate and longer duration of unemployed people. But we live in the age of election truthers, anti-vaxxers, and flat-earthers, and so, of course, it is.

When the pandemic lowered the boom on our national economy, one of the prudent measures the federal government took was to expand some of the social safety nets, including unemployment benefits. People, through no fault of their own, were losing their jobs. It only made sense that we helped them.

Earlier this year, as the pandemic subsided (or, at least, we learned better how to cope with it) and our economy rebounded, the leaders of 26 states, including North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, opted to end participation in the expanded benefits.

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