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Treasury: 5.6M hires qualify for tax break

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Businesses have hired 5.6 million workers under a new program that provides tax breaks for hiring unemployed workers, the Treasury Department said Monday.

The report, however, does not estimate how many of those jobs would have been added without the tax break.

President Barack Obama signed a law in March that exempts businesses hiring people who have been unemployed for at least 60 days from paying the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax through December. Employers get an additional $1,000 credit if new workers stay on the job a full year.

Treasury released a report Monday estimating that from February through June, businesses hired 5.6 million workers who qualify for the tax breaks. That’s up from the 4.5 million workers who were hired under the program through May.

Those businesses are projected to save $10.4 billion in taxes, if they keep three-fourths of the new workers for at least a year, the Treasury report said.

Many businesses also cut jobs during the period, although there was a net increase of about 868,000 jobs from February through June, according to the government’s business payroll survey. The economy shed 125,000 jobs in June, according to the survey.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has proposed extending the tax cut for an additional six months. Schumer appeared with Krueger and other lawmakers at an event Monday in Albany, N.Y., to promote the tax credit.

Economists have said there is no way to know how many of the unemployed workers would have been hired without the tax credit.

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