Enhanced unemployment benefits included in the $1.9 trillion pandemic-relief package signed on Thursday by President Biden could keep billions of dollars a week in stimulus flowing into the economy through the summer.

The plan extends two pandemic-related programs and lengthens supplemental $300 payments to all laid-off workers receiving unemployment benefits through early September—well after the effect of $1,400 checks to individuals likely fades. About 20 million people tapped unemployment benefits in mid-February, up from 2 million a year earlier, adding up to more than $10 billion in additional stimulus a week.

Some economists say extending extra jobless benefits for nearly 18 months is a disincentive for some people to return to work, preventing industries such as logistics, construction and certain retailers from finding employees as the economy recovers.


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