The generous unemployment benefits paid to the United States to deal with the pandemic have allowed millions of families to stay afloat, but they are now controversial, to the point that some Republican states have removed them. Joe Biden recalled that they would be withdrawn from the unemployed who refused a job.
The Republicans these aids had been lambasting for a while granted by the federal government, in particular the additional 300 dollars per week granted to all unemployed people, arguing that they encourage staying at home rather than looking for work.
The very disappointing employment report proved them right on Friday, when Only 266,000 jobs have been created in April, and not a million as expected.
This aid “was perhaps necessary in May last year, but is no longer necessary in May this year,” said Republican governor of the state of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, Monday on his Facebook account.
Several states are cutting aid
So he decided it was time to put an end to it, joining Alabama, Arkansas, Montana, South Carolina, and Iowa, who all scaled back or removed them.
Each state in the country sets the duration and amount of the benefits, but under the latest stimulus package adopted in Congress and signed by Joe Biden they had been extended for all until the end of August, including those who have exhausted their rights, and extended in particular to self-employed workers.
All this will be removed in Alabama from June 19, Kay Ivey, the governor of this southern state, announced Monday, citing aid that “contributes to a labor shortage that is compromising the economic recovery underway” .
So back to the usual pattern for the unemployed in Alabama: allowance paid for a maximum of 26 weeks (a little less than five months), up to $ 275 per week at most. The powerful American Chamber of Commerce called on Friday to remove the additional 300 dollars, indicating that according to its analyzes, this leads approximately “one in four beneficiaries to receive more thanks to unemployment than to working”.
But American Democratic President Joe Biden assures us that the link between this aid and the shortage of workers is not so obvious. There is no question, therefore, of downsizing across the country. States which so wish will be able to continue to help their unemployed.
There are still 8 million jobs missing, compared to before the pandemic, “and for many of these people, unemployment benefits are a safety net,” he said Monday from the White House.
Beware of those who would benefit from the generosity of the public authorities, warned the US president. “The law is clear: if you receive unemployment benefit and you are offered a suitable job, you cannot refuse this job and simply continue to receive unemployment”, he assured, conceding “some exceptions linked to Covid-19 “. Americans are in fact far from being all vaccinated and many still have to take care of their children whose school still does not welcome them full time.
Active job search required
A study published by the University of Massachusetts in February had yet reported “no evidence” showing “a significant impact” of the amount of unemployment benefits on hiring.
Especially since the 16.6 million Americans who were still receiving aid at the beginning of April must show a white footing to continue to benefit from it, and prove that they are actively looking for a job.
But companies have been complaining for several months about recruitment difficulties, and indicate that they are forced to offer higher wages to attract workers. For example, the fast food chain Chipotle announced on Monday that it was increasing the minimum wage for hire, now between $ 11 and $ 18 per hour. The state of Montana, in the northwest, is offering $ 1,200 to unemployed workers who accept a job.