According to data reported by the latest Morning Consult survey, 1.84 million U.S. citizens reportedly turned down the possibility of entering a job to keep the Biden administration’s unemployment bonus.

President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, enacted in March, mandated a $300 weekly bonus for Americans who remained unemployed. This amount is separate from the regular federally funded unemployment benefits. 

The national average for unemployment insurance nationwide before the pandemic was $387 per week. Now the unemployed in the United States receive up to $687 on average when the $300 expansion is considered. This equates to an hourly wage of $17, more than double the federal minimum wage.

Most Republicans voted against the initiative and warned that many unemployed Americans would thus be paid more for not working than re-entering the workforce.

According to the Morning Consult survey results, approximately one-third of unemployment benefit recipients have turned down job offers during the pandemic, including 45% of those who cited unemployment benefits as a significant factor in turning down work. 

In addition, 13% of unemployment benefit recipients said that the only reason they turned down work was their interest in receiving the benefit.

The pollster’s number of 1.84 million was calculated from the 13% who directly refused to work because of an incentive to continue receiving unemployment benefits, among the approximately 14.1 million who were receiving unemployment benefits in mid-June 2021 when the survey was conducted.

Congressional Republicans and many economists have asserted that the labor market is lagging due in part to the federal government’s increased unemployment payments.

Many companies have expressed serious concerns about not being able to continue to operate due to lack of human resources, which is unacceptable in a country where the unemployed abound and the need for the economy to return to growth.

Stories can be found throughout the United States of companies that have closed or are on the verge of closing simply because of the enormous difficulties in finding employees. For example, in Spokane, Washington, one of the regions most affected by this phenomenon, job openings abound, but employers cannot find people to fill the jobs.

In this regard, more than two dozen states opted out of extended unemployment benefits before they end in September, but millions across the country, even in large states like California and New York, are still receiving them.

As reported by Fox News, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, one of the first to voluntarily opt out of these relief funds, justified his decision by asserting that the benefits were helpful during the height of the pandemic, but that in the aftermath “it has worsened the workforce problems we face.”

Like many other Republican governors, Parson decided to end the federally funded benefits to address business complaints about labor shortages, even though the move could hurt his image with many voters who are still attracted to the lure of easy money.

Curiously, according to an analysis by the consulting firm Jefferies LLC, published by Fox News, all the states that announced the suspension of the federal subsidy, reflected in the following weeks important reductions in unemployment rates. This confirms that many citizens, when they stopped receiving unemployment benefits, had to accept jobs, generating a consequent drop in unemployment rates.

Aneta Markowska, the chief financial economist at Jefferies, told Fox News that “employers had to compete with the government in the distribution of money, and that makes it very difficult to attract workers.” Especially taking into account that by logic, companies in exchange for the distribution of money demand work, while the state does it without demanding anything in return.

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