States burn through cash for unemployment payments

States are quickly depleting funds set aside as millions of laid-off workers apply for unemployment-insurance benefits offered by state governments, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Treasury Department data.

Nearly half of U.S. states have logged double-digit percentage declines in their trust-fund balances since the end of February, the month before the coronavirus pandemic triggered shutdowns that led to widespread job losses and record numbers of jobless claims.

States use the money to pay regular unemployment benefits, while the extra $600 payments recently added for workers laid off during the pandemic are funded through a federal stimulus package signed into law last month.

From the end of February to mid-April, New York had used about half of the trust-fund money it had on tap, representing one of the steepest declines among states.

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