Job searches haven't jumped in states canceling unemployment benefits early

·Reporter
·3-min read

Job seekers in the 10 states that canceled federal unemployment programs early haven’t accelerated their online searches for new jobs, data from Indeed found. 

In fact, job searches in those states are below late April levels and lower than the volume in states that aren't opting out of the programs.

"We aren't seeing a jump in search activity right around the time that those benefits ended," Jed Kolko, Indeed’s chief economist, told Yahoo Money. "That search activity in those states that have already opted out the enhanced federal UI benefits is a little bit below the national trend."

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Twenty-six states — all but one with GOP governors — eliminated or plan to eliminate the unemployment programs this month or in early July, including the popular $300 weekly bonus.

Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, and Missouri canceled the programs on June 12, the earliest states to do so. Job search activity ticked higher after the cancellation, but is down 4% from the baseline national job search level in late April.

Idaho, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Wyoming ended the programs on June 19. Similarly, job search activity there also edged higher before the expiration, but remains 1% lower than the baseline national job search level in late April. 

Only 19.6% of unemployed workers were on temporary layoff — unlike early in the pandemic — meaning fewer workers are being recalled and more are looking for new jobs instead.

TAMPA, FL - MAY 25: Seminole Hard Rock Casino department supervisor Carol Anne Haslam (R) speaks with Grace Dudley, a job applicant, during a job fair at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino on May 25, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced that the state government will stop paying the $300-a-week federal benefit urging residents to return to the workforce. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)
Seminole Hard Rock Casino department supervisor Carol Anne Haslam (R) speaks with Grace Dudley, a job applicant, during a job fair at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino on May 25, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

'Other factors that are probably holding people back from searching'

Twenty of the 26 states have halted or intend to halt the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs. PUA provides benefits to workers like contractors who don’t otherwise qualify for regular unemployment insurance. PEUC provides additional weeks of benefits.

Read more: Can your employer force you to get vaccinated? Sometimes.

In those 26 states, more than 4 million workers will see their benefits slashed by at least $1,200 a month in June or early July, losing a total of $22.1 billion in benefits, according to estimates by the Century Foundation.

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Several studies have found that the extra pandemic-era unemployment benefits largely don’t keep workers from accepting new jobs — most recently a paper by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. If seven out of 28 unemployed workers received job offers they would normally accept, only one declined because of the extra $300 in weekly unemployment benefits, the paper found.

"There are other factors that are probably holding people back from searching like continued concern about the virus," Kolko said. "Some people might be waiting until later in the summer when schools are closer to opening and when people get a chance to take some time off."

Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova

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