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$600 weekly bonus ends for unemployed Malheur County residents as program expires

Over the past four months, the federal government issued an extra $600 weekly payment for those receiving state unemployment insurance benefits.

For 932 people unemployed in Malheur County as of June, that program expired about a week ago. If all those applied, that means about $560,000 a week is disappearing from local households – and the local economy.

The county’s unemployment rate in June was 7.4%, a drop-off of 1.1% from May, according to the Oregon Employment Department.

The additional payments, called Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, were issued by the U.S. Department of Labor as part of the CARES Act. The last opportunity to claim the $600 payment was July 25.

Dan Ramirez, self-sufficiency programs manager for the state Department of Human Services in Ontario, said with that payment dropping out, there is . . .