AT restaurants across the country – from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Fort Worth, Texas – pop up the same sign: “We have a short staff. Please be patient with the staff who showed up. Nobody wants to work anymore. “
The bottom line is that the federal government’s expanded $ 300 unemployment benefits keep people at home every week instead of behind the counter and in fast food kitchens.
Unfortunately for them, what is happening is a characteristic, not a mistake in the US economic system, and the blame cannot be placed entirely on a $ 300 a week check.
University of Pennsylvania economist Joanna Marinescu said: “In the absence of benefits, there are likely to be a few more applications and hiring will be a little easier, but the main driver of the recent mood swing is that hiring is accelerating. “
Job vacancies rose to a two-year high in February, according to a study of job vacancies and labor turnover by the US Department of Labor last month. And in March, employers added nearly one million new jobs, with many economists expecting similar or better profits in Friday’s April job report.
If job creation accelerates faster than people apply for jobs, there will be pain for business owners. The pandemic added some oddities to this economic reality.
It is true that some people would rather stay at home for a few months, earning as much or more from unemployment than thawing meatballs or answering phones.
But potential employees are also concerned about safety – 46% of the population has not received a single dose of vaccine and the spread of Covid-19 is uncontrolled in the United States. Potential employees also have responsibilities for care: this recession has disproportionately affected women, who largely assume these responsibilities, and by the end of March, more than half of schools were still studying remotely or a combination of distance and private classes.
Others, such as LaShanta Knowles in Cleveland, Ohio, use losing their jobs as an opportunity to do something different.
Until September, Knowles had worked the same job at a relocation service company for seven years, unhappy and unmaintained, only to have once received attention to do things wrong.
“I was left out of comfort and out of fear, if this job didn’t want me, I didn’t think anyone else would want it,” Knowles said. “Fortunately, I don’t feel that way since I went back to school.”
This month, Knowles will receive a certificate in web programming and development. Even with unemployment, the financial situation is difficult, in part because Ohio is not in line with unemployment benefits.
This is a problem facing millions across the country, as the benefits system is not equipped to respond to this recession. This is such a problem that the Ohio Nonprofit has stepped in to help people like Knowles navigate the system and invite them to take action to call for something better. And it is gaining momentum to consider national unemployment reform.
In the end, Knowles feels as if luck is on her side. “Unemployment actually helped steer me down the path I needed to be,” Knowles said.
Unemployment benefits also allow unemployed people to support the economy.
Researchers at the University of Chicago have found that rising unemployment by $ 600 a week in 2020 allows people to spend money in a way they would not do without it. This means that some of the same companies that complain about hiring may not make as much money without unemployment.
Enlargement is due to expire in early September, and economists are looking to see what this means for business owners and low-wage workers who are still struggling, while the economy is recovering faster for high-wage workers.
University of Massachusetts economist Amherst Arindrat Dube said fiscal incentives, including unemployment benefits, could lead to a one-generation or two-generation increase in wages and a reduction in unemployment.
The last time this type of wage growth occurred was in the late 1990s, when the labor market tightened, with many employers chasing fewer workers.
“You had a tight enough labor market that led to a broad-based wage increase of a kind we hadn’t actually seen since the 1970s,” Dube said. “And that was unusual, and yes, employers had a hard time filling vacancies and they had to raise a lot of wages, and that’s good.”
At Cleveland Knowles, she is most concerned about finding a job with her new certificate. She didn’t know when the expansion of unemployment ended, and when the Guardian told her it was September, she exclaimed, “I hope I find a job sooner!”