We must increase unemployment insurance benefits without caveats

Long before the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on our state’s economy, Louisiana workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own were stuck with some of the lowest unemployment benefits in the country.

Louisiana’s maximum weekly benefit of $247 is the third lowest in the nation, behind Mississippi and Arizona. But most unemployed Louisianans receive even less. Louisiana’s average weekly unemployment benefit has hovered around $190 in 2021, which is the lowest in the nation.

The Legislature is considering two bills to address this issue. While both bills would raise the weekly benefits that people can receive after losing their jobs, each of them also have serious flaws that would hurt people at a time when Louisiana still has a long way to go before it fully recovers from the pandemic recession.