Delta variant may fuel push to extend unemployment pay, experts say

 Delta variant may fuel push to extend unemployment pay, experts say

An executive chef interviews a job seeker about hospitality employment during a job fair on June 23, 2021 in Torrance, California.

PATRICK T. FALLON | AFP | Getty Images

The rapidly spreading delta variant of Covid-19 may be reason for Congress to extend federal unemployment benefits past their expiration in early September, according to some labor economists.

Rising Covid caseloads, largely the result of the more transmissible virus strain, threaten to undermine the U.S. economic recovery at around the same time that federal benefits are supposed to end, they said.  

Local outbreaks may lead consumers — both vaccinated and unvaccinated — to curtail in-person activities like dining at restaurants, and lead parents to stay home if some schools adopt remote learning in the fall, for example, economists said.

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