Is the Delta Variant Reason to Extend Unemployment Benefits?

After months of declining numbers and some experts believing that COVID-19 cases may be in permanent decline, they’re back on the rise – and it’s all thanks to the more contagious Delta variant. Believed to be some 40 to 60 percent more contagious than other strains of COVID-19, cases are rapidly increasing in areas with low vaccination rates, prompting fears that the nation’s economic growth could be stunted and more localized restrictions could be put in place.

We’ve already seen Wall Street’s reaction to the rising case numbers, as the stock market had its worst day in months on Monday, July 19.

If economic activity declines and hiring slows in the near-term, there’s one big question to ask: What should be done about the enhanced federal unemployment benefits that are set to expire on September 6? Some economists are calling for them to be extended. We’ll dig into why that could be both good and bad.

Making the Case For it

As we noted above, the more contagious Delta variant is driving more COVID-19 infections, largely in the unvaccinated. However, an increase in cases is likely to prevent even those who are vaccinated to take part in some of the activities that they have perhaps begun doing again. This could have dire effects for the travel, hospitality and restaurant industries, just as these sectors appear ready to rebound in a big way.

If layoffs increase and hiring slows, extended unemployment benefits could represent a nice safety net for out-of-work Americans until this latest wave subsides.

Making the Case Against it

There’s plenty of opportunity out there right now that out-of-work Americans are not yet taking advantage of because of the enhanced unemployment benefits. In fact, many states have already ended the extra $300 per week as a means of forcing Americans back into the workforce. But perhaps the biggest argument against extending the unemployment benefits is the fact that there’s a tool out there to prevent – or at worst, significantly reduce the severity of – a COVID-19 infection: the vaccines. It’s more likely that you’ll see a significant uptick in vaccination rates in late August and early September as Americans ready to return to the workforce than you will the unemployment benefits get extended.

The Bottom Line

The Delta variant is a stark reminder that this pandemic is not yet over, but unless things worsen to levels that aren’t anticipated, there’s no reason to extend the unemployment benefits, especially with effective vaccines available to prevent COVID-19 infections. A better strategy is to universally promote getting vaccinated, so Americans have peace of mind that they’ll be protecting themselves from infection – whether it’s in the workplace or elsewhere. Even in the cases of rare breakthrough infections, the vaccines virtually eliminate severe illness and hospitalization.


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17 thoughts on “Is the Delta Variant Reason to Extend Unemployment Benefits?”

  1. Well I feel it would be much worse to extend additional benefits as there are many people who would rather collect from the government than to be part of the patriots who know it’s hard work that has made our country Great.
    Also I am part of this great country but unfortunately not a registered voter(not by choice) however yes President Trump did get defeated by ILLEGAL means. However I suppose my voice will not count in the polls.

    1. Do not extend additional benefits. People need to get off their backside and work for a living like the rest of is have done all our lives. As long as the government supports them they will live off the tax payers.

    2. Enough is enough…now the parents are getting funds per month for their children…with all of this who needs to work? They are just living off the government funded by the working class people. I worked in the mental health field and the funds are making more of a mental addiction mess…it is not helping to make a happy healthy family life.

  2. NOOOOO!!!!
    The employees who are staying home are going to cause some businesses to limits their hours of operation…or close…..What has happened to the American work ethic????

  3. I vote against extending unemployment benefits.
    We all are back to work, and there is plenty of work available and in need of people. The variant Delta
    Is not spreading as they want you to believe. We need just not drop the ball and continue to be vigilant and protect ourselves against the virus

  4. This is not a reason to extend unemployment benefits. The Delta virus or up tick in virus numbers can be contributed to the Biden Administrations policies. They brought in 1 million people with no vaccinations for the virus, some had the virus and were sent all over the United States. The democratic party is responsible for the second spread of the virus. Fear has lead some people to live at home as much as possible. Since the democrats have allowed people to break the law and enter the US illegally, they should be willing to pay for the housing, heath care, education, food etc. for all the people they allowed to break the law. The virus is spreading due to poor policies. States that were locked down did no better than states that weren’t . Extending unemployment would just make people reliant on government which is what the democrats want.

  5. Biden had this Variant released. He was upset when he did not reach his goal of 70% vaccinated. He said He wanted to KILL AMERICA. Well he is trying to do that by bringing in all these other countries. We do not know what diseases they have brought in. THE PEOPLE IN THE WH are not doing their JOBS. They are supposed to PROTECT OUR COUNTRY. STAND UP PATRIOTS AND FIGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY. GOD BLESS THE USA!

  6. No vaccinations means NO $$$. Follow the “money trail”. One enlightened Patriot. Team Trump And His Allies 2020 – MAGA (WE’RE NOT going away!).

  7. No on more stimulus! But here is the deal we are screwed, I am neither for Biden or Trump, what we need to do is totally clean house. The White House, House of Representatives and the senate. Our country is a mess and is only going to get worse unless something is done properly about it. There is no white, black or brown, yellow what ever color in this country we are Americans and need to get the promoters of hate and discord the hell out of office. We don’t need socialists, or communist in office. We are suppose to have a government for the people, all people. We don’t need criminals coming into our country and drug dealers. The is supposed to be the country of opportunity, NOT THE COUNTRY OF FREE STUFF. I could go on but it is useless.

  8. It’s all about CONTROL!!!! What about the million-plus illegals coming into the country!! They’re bringing not only the Covid variant but many more diseases than you can count!! The Cleveland Clinic study says that if you’ve had Covid and are carrying the antibodies then you are better protected than someone getting the gene therapy (alias, vaccine)! What happened to the annual Flu season last year?! Now we have the so-called variant for the flu this year!!! Call me crazy, but this smells to high heaven!!!!

  9. “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”
    ….HL Mencken

  10. Extending unemployment benefits is not good for America; we can’t be sick for the rest of our lives and expect our government to always take care of us. We are already buried under trillions of dollars of debt so people need to start getting back to work. Plus, we no longer hear of any illnesses such as flu, summer colds, etc., so it’s time for everyone to get back to work all over America; and we all need to remember to take our vitamins every day, an extra vitamin C, zinc, and get out and get the sunshine vitamin! More importantly, kill fear by getting back to God and church!!

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