Adequate unemployment insurance extension increases odds of finding “better jobs”

Unemployment insurance extension - Person leaping
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A new study found that given more time, people are more likely to find employment suited to qualifications.

Unemployed workers are more likely to find “better” jobs to suit their qualifications with an unemployment insurance extension, say new study results.

This research indicates the opposite effect suggested in arguments made by Republican leaders.

The Congressional debates over the next coronavirus stimulus package include the type of unemployment insurance extension that will be employed. Republican leaders have been cautioning against the added $600 per week in federal benefits for those who have been laid off. They argue that the additional money eliminates some of the incentive for people to find new work because they may be earning more through their benefits than they would through employment.

However, a new studyhas added its findings to a growing body of similar evidence built over the last few months. It has found that when unemployed people have longer access to UI benefits, there are greater benefits to those workers and to the economy. Adding to the number of weeks for which jobless benefits are available provides people with the opportunity to find employment suited to their skills and expertise. It removes the desperation to accept any job they can find, even if it means they are deeply underemployed. When people’s employment suits their qualifications, the labor market efficiency and productivity increase on the whole.

This unemployment insurance extension study was conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The research compared the job quality found by people during “ordinary” unemployment periods with those found during the 2002 recession and the 2009 Great Recession in the United States when there were extended UI benefits made available.

When the United States extended its UI benefits during those times of economic struggle, the average qualifying person was typically allowed to obtain up to 79 weeks of benefits. During an “ordinary” unemployment period, benefits would have been for only up to 26 weeks.

The research determined that during the unemployment insurance extension periods, Unemployment insurance extension - Person leapingworkers found “better jobs, or jobs best suited for their education level and skill sets” than they would have found during the shorter ordinary benefits period.

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