(Bloomberg) — The U.S. Treasury Department has paid out more than $100 billion in unemployment benefits in June, the most for a single month since the pandemic started and underscoring the importance of federal relief efforts to shore up a battered job market.
With just one day left to be reported, the U.S. Treasury paid out $108.5 billion in unemployment benefits in June — the most on record dating back to 2005 — according to the department’s latest daily statement Tuesday.
That exceeded the $93.6 billion in May and $48.4 billion in April as the government continues to play catch up with the backlog in processing claims due to an overwhelming number of people applying for benefits.
When she was first furloughed in March, Randee Heitzmann knew how to make ends meet.
She deferred payments on her new Honda Civic, spent $3,000 in stimulus money and tax returns on other payments, and drained her savings.
Then she was called back to her job, as a bartender at a cigar bar near Dallas for five weeks, taking home about $100 per shift, just 20% of what she was used to.
But on Friday, Heitzmann was cut loose again, hours before her shift was to begin.
“I don’t have any savings left,” the 28-year-old said. “I don’t know how long it’s going to be before I get a paycheck again.”
Americans are angry. The country erupted into the worst civil unrest in decades after the death of George Floyd, and anger about police violence and the country’s legacy of racism is still running high. At the same time, we’re dealing with anger provoked by the coronavirus pandemic: anger at public officials because they’ve shut down parts of society, or anger because they aren’t doing enough to curb the virus. Anger about being required to wear a mask, or anger toward people who refuse to wear a mask. Anger with anyone who doesn’t see things the “right” way.
“We’re living, in effect, in a big anger incubator,” said Raymond Novaco, a psychology professor at the University of California at Irvine, who has expertise in anger assessment and treatment.