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2021-08-02 — cnbc.com

"This is so many more people than have ever been cut off from something like this," Stettner said of the looming cliff relative to past cutoffs.

Of course, the economy has recovered more quickly than in past recessions. It's now larger than it was before the pandemic, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday.

Hiring is also up over the past few months. The economy added 850,000 new jobs in June, after 583,000 in May and 269,000 in April. However, the U.S. has yet to recover almost 7 million lost jobs versus pre-pandemic levels.

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Twenty-six states ended their participation in federal unemployment programs over June and July, to try to encourage recipients to return to work -- effectively moving up the benefits cliff for residents by about two to three months.

With the $300 supplement, almost half of jobless workers (48%) make as much or more money on unemployment benefits than their lost paychecks, according to a recent paper published by the JPMorgan Chase & Co. Institute.

The extra funds had a small impact on job-finding among workers, but didn't significantly hold back the job market, according to economists Fiona Greig, Daniel Sullivan, Peter Ganong, Pascal Noel and Joseph Vavra, who authored the analysis.

And though it's still early, evidence so far doesn't suggest the state policies immediately pushed people back into the workforce.

If you believe the economy is larger now than before the COVID recession, I have a bridge to sell you (and when I do, we'll count that transaction towards economic growth as well!)

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