Initial data shows a mild but notable uptick in job search activity following states' announcements to cut boosted unemployment ahead of schedule.
The threat of losing unemployment benefits in two dozen states had a modest but short-lived effect on job search activity, according to an analysis published last Thursday by job site Indeed.
From announcement day to three days later, the states in which benefits are ending early received a 3 to 4 percent boost in job search clicks compared to the national average, according to an Indeed.com report. By the eighth day after the announcement, search interest had “vanished,” it said.
Though the U.S. unemployment rate has declined substantially since reaching a record high in April of 2020, new weekly jobless claims are still coming in at about twice the rate they were before the pandemic began. In spite of that, some states have actually been experiencing a labor shortage, and some lawmakers attribute it to the fact that people on unemployment may not be motivated to get back into the workforce.
Since the pandemic began, weekly unemployment benefits have been temporarily increased. Initially, the CARES Act, which was signed into law in March of 2020, allowed for a $600 weekly increase. Most recently, the American Rescue Plan boosted jobless benefits by $300 a week through early September.
The most sought-after jobs were in marketing, sales, hospitality and tourism. But searches for high-paying jobs, including physicians and surgeons, also spiked, according to the report.
Two dozen states are ending the $300 weekly unemployment benefits as soon as June — and well before Sept. 6, when they officially run out nationwide. Some states, including Arizona, Oklahoma and Montana, are also offering bonuses for residents who return to work.