Federal pandemic unemployment aid for Louisiana residents ends on Saturday, cutting off nearly 200,000 people and reducing payments to thousands more in the state.

Louisiana residents will no longer receive an extra $300 a week on top of the state's maximum benefit of $247. The state will stop participating in the federal program giving unemployment money to self-employed and gig workers who are ineligible for state benefits. Tomorrow also marks the end of federal assistance that allowed people to get jobless benefits past a 26-week state cap.

The benefits were available to states through early September, however, Gov. John Bel Edwards is ending the aid five weeks early in a deal with Republican lawmakers.

In that compromise, the state unemployment benefits will go up by $28 a week, starting in six months. Louisana's maximum unemployment benefit will increase to $275 a week in January.

With the early end to this federal pandemic program, about 194,500 people in Louisiana will see their unemployment aid cut off completely. Another 47,000 will be able to continue receiving jobless benefits, but that assistance will be cut by more than half.

Louisiana is joining 24 Republican-led states in scrapping the federal unemployment aid before the September 6 expiration date. Edwards is the first Democratic governor to end these benefits early.

In making this decision, Edwards said he was trying to find a "reasonable balance" between helping the jobless and assisting businesses who are having trouble finding workers. According to federal data, Louisiana's unemployment rate was just under 7% in June, higher than 40 other states.

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