Are unemployment benefits too good at the moment?

Insider’s Ben Winck reported on Friday that along with the disappointing job gains, the unemployment rate rose in April to 6.1% from 6%, while economists had expected it to drop to 5.8%. Possible reasons for the report falling short of expectations could include temporary layoffs and too-generous unemployment insurance.

Source: Biden’s Labor Secretary insists April’s weak jobs gain of 266,000 ‘is a good number’

Unemployment benefits were extended up to 79 weeks duration – all the way out to September of 2021. Plus, the Federal government offered an additional $300/week unemployment benefit; last year, this was $600/week.

“One topsy-turvy outcome is that many people are earning more staying home than they did in the jobs they lost. And some businesses are finding that employees do not want to come back to jobs that pay less than what they can earn in unemployment.”

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University of Chicago researchers found that for two-thirds of people who lose jobs, their unemployment benefits exceeded what they had been earning.”

https://www.npr.org/2020/07/27/895674685/-600-a-week-poverty-remedy-or-job-slayer

Our local news talked to local employers and they reported, anecdotally, that they had found many potential workers have chosen to not accept job offers because for now. Some workers say the extra unemployment benefit enables them to be choosier about job opportunities – and say they are taking much longer to accept a position because they can.

Another factor, said some restaurant owners, is that some people who previously worked in the restaurant sector have left it for good. On the other hand, this could be a good summer for teen and first time workers as local employers are having a difficult time hiring more staff.

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