Where are the workers? Cutting aid to the unemployed stimulates the non-influx of refugees

Indianapolis – Earlier this year, an urgent cry emerged from business leaders and republican Referees: Cut $300 per week federation Supplement to the American Unemployed. They argued that a lot of people would walk off the sidelines and take millions Careers who – which The bosses They were desperate to fill it.

However, three months after half of the states began ending those federal payments, there hasn’t been a significant influx of job seekers.

In states that cut the $300 check, the workforce — the number of people who have or are looking for a job — did not rise more than in states that kept paying. That federal aid, along with two unemployment assistance programs that served temporary and long-term job workers, expired nationwide on September 6. However, the overall American workforce shrank that month.

“Policy makers have been placing too much hope in ending unemployment insurance as a support for the labor market,” said Fiona Gregg, managing director of the JPMorgan Chase Institute, who has studied the issue.

The labor shortage has lasted longer than many Economists expected, deepening the uncertainty in the heart of the labor market. Companies are keen to add workers and have posted a near-record number of available jobs. However, job growth slowed in August and September.

Curtis McCray, a Mississippi Department of Corrections employee, left, points to a positive testimonial for a job applicant during the Lee County job fair in Tupelo, Mississippi, October 12, 2021. (Associated Press)

An Associated Press analysis of state data found that the workforce in the 25 states that kept the $300 paycheck actually grew slightly more from May through September, according to data released Friday, compared to the 25 states that cut pay early, mostly in June. The $300 per week federal check, combined with government unemployment assistance, meant that many unemployed people were receiving more benefits than they did in their old jobs.

Economists cite a range of factors likely to prevent former recipients of federal unemployment assistance from returning to the workforce. Many Americans in public jobs still fear contracting COVID-19. Some families lack childcare.

Others, like Rachel Montgomery of Anderson, Indiana, have grown to cherish more time with their family and feel they can manage their finances, at least for now. Montgomery, a 37-year-old mother, said she has become “more specific” about where she’d like to work after losing a catering job last year. Missing the federal payment of $300 per week did not change her mind. You will receive your regular state unemployment benefit for a few more weeks.

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“Once you stay home with your kids and family like this, who wants to get back physically to work?” She said. “I’m not going to sacrifice pay or the flexibility to work remotely when I know I’m qualified to do certain things. But what this also means is that it takes longer to find these types of jobs.”

Some of the former recipients, especially the elderly and wealthy, decided to retire earlier than they had planned. And after receiving three stimulus checks in 18 months, plus in some cases federal unemployment aid, most families have larger cash cushions than they did before the pandemic. So some people take time to consider their options.

Graham Berryman, a 44-year-old resident of Springfield, Missouri, has been living off savings since Missouri cut $300 a week for federal unemployment in June. He has had temporary work reviewing documents for law firms in the past. But he hasn’t found anything permanent since August 2020.

“I’m unemployed,” Berryman said. “It doesn’t mean I’m lazy. Just because someone can’t find a suitable job in their profession doesn’t mean they will be dumped.”

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Similarly, some couples have decided that they can live on only one income, rather than two, at least temporarily.

Sarah Hamby of Kokomo, Indiana, lost her federal payment of $300 a week this summer after ending her state early. Hamby’s husband, 65, has kept his job at a printing press throughout the pandemic. But he may decide to join the ranks of retired people earlier than they planned.

And Hamby, 51, may do so on her own if she doesn’t find work soon. The jobs she held for decades in the car factories have largely disappeared.

“I don’t want to go to work at a computer or in an office, like it pays a lot of us to do,” she said. “So now I’m stuck between doing some work that pays too little for what it’s worth – or is too physically demanding – or I don’t work.”

Nationwide, the percentage of women working or looking for work fell in September for the second month in a row, evidence that many fathers are still unable to manage childcare duties to return to work. The number of workers in child care centers has decreased, reducing the care available. Exacerbating the labor shortage, a record number of people left their jobs in August.

In Missouri, a handful of businesses are still frustrated by a labor shortage more than three months after the state cut the $300-a-week federal unemployment checks that paid for billboards in Springfield that read, “Get off your ass!” and “Go. to work.”

The state has not seen any growth in its workforce since the end of emergency benefits.

Mississippi ended all emergency unemployment assistance in June. However, its staffing was lower in August than it was in May. In Tupelo, a recent job fair attracted 60 companies, including VT Halter Marine, a shipbuilder. About 150 to 200 job seekers attended, which is less than some companies had hoped.

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Adam Todd organized the Mississippi Department of Employment Security job fair, which helps people find jobs and distribute unemployment benefits. Todd said the agency has received “desperate calls” from companies that need to hire workers during the pandemic.

“We are in a different time period than we have been in a very long time,” Todd said. “The job seeker is really in the driver’s seat now.”

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