(CNN) Many Americans are facing a new financial challenge. The helping hand from the U.S. government was aiding millions of households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic came to an end.
The first weekend in September is bringing new challenges to at least 7.5 million Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic unemployment benefits are expiring in the 26 states that were still handing them out, including Oregon.
Gustavo Maria is losing his unemployment benefits. He said, “My inner voice is just me yelling and screaming: ‘What am I going to do? What am I going to do? What am I going to do?'”
While many companies say they’re trying to fill positions with incentives like signing bonuses, they’re often having trouble getting takers.
Cutting unemployment benefits hasn’t resulted in sizable job growth this year.
According to data from April to July, the states that ended federal benefits early saw just under a point in growth, while those that kept the benefits saw nearly twice as much.
This comes on the heels of a disappointing monthly jobs report that showed the U.S. adding the least amount of positions since January.
Political advisor Mark McKinnon said, “You’ve got COVID resurgence which has translated to bad job numbers, Afghanistan, fires, hurricanes. That’s a lot all at one time.”
The U.S. economy is still 5.3 million jobs below where it was in February 2020, just before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.