Ending Enhanced UI Benefits Had No Effect On Labor

Written by SK Ashby

Earlier this year, Republican-controlled states withdrew from an enhanced unemployment benefit program included in coronavirus relief legislation, but enhanced benefits have only just expired in Democratic states that participated in the program for its full duration.

Now that enhanced benefits have entirely expire in every state, there's been no rush of people looking for jobs who weren't already looking for one.

Employers say the end of enhanced benefits hasn't helped them.

“People who have been on the sidelines have by and large stayed on the sidelines,” said Richard Wahlquist, president of the American Staffing Association, the country’s largest recruitment-industry group. “Nothing has changed in regard to the benefits that have fallen off and the need for people continues to grow.” [...]

Joanie Bily, chief workforce analyst at Atlanta-based EmployBridge, was one of the people who thought that her company would see a “significant increase” in the number of online applications once boosted benefits ended.

“I’ve been asking all of our locations across the U.S.: ‘Are you busier? How does it feel since the benefits have ended?’” said Bily, whose firm connects employees with companies across the U.S., focusing on manufacturing, logistics and call centers. “I pulled the data last night and I thought it would be better, but it’s not.”

This shouldn't surprise anyone -- especially not professionals who forecast these kinds of things -- given that ending benefits early made no significant difference in Republican controlled states. People aren't too lazy to return to work as much as everyone's lives and priorities have permanently changed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

And the coronavirus pandemic isn't over, by the way. The football stadiums may be packed, but that's not the full story behind the scenes in the service industry still fighting a loss of business. Moreover, nearly 2,000 people are dying per day from coronavirus complications.

And you know what? Maybe there just aren't as many people who think being a wage slave is a good way to spend our limited time on this earth. The last two years have hit very close to home for virtually everyone for a multitude of overlapping reasons. Many people have no choice to but take any job they can get, but life is complicated and that's more true now that it's ever been for tens of millions of people.