POLL: Nearly 2 Million Americans Ducked Job Search Due To Pandemic Benefits

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Recent polling indicates 1.8 million Americans have put off searching for a job due to enhanced unemployment benefits.

In a survey of 463 unemployed American adults, Morning Consult found that 13% received enough money from unemployment benefits that they felt comfortable not working. The study stated 14 million Americans received unemployment benefits for the week ending June 19. As the benefits phase out, 1.8 million Americans are expected to go back to work. (RELATED: April Job Growth Was Far Short Of Expectations. Here’s Why Hiring Slowed)

Morning Consult surveyed the individuals receiving unemployment benefits from June 22-25.

Conservative and liberal economists have predicted that the enhanced unemployment benefits included in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) would discourage Americans from going back to work. The ARP increased unemployment benefits to about $687 a week, or close to $20 an hour.

Manhattan Institute economist Brian Riedl told the Daily Caller in May that weak jobs growth was a foreseeable consequence of maintaining enhanced unemployment benefits.

“Economic literature has suggested for decades that overly generous unemployment benefits drive up unemployment rates and delay the getting of new jobs,” he said. “Essentially, millions of workers are making more on unemployment benefits than they would be making at their jobs.”

Harvard University economist Jason Furman, who was the chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, concurs.

“The continued concern about the threat of getting COVID-19 at work or expanded unemployment insurance benefits and eligibility” are the key “factors responsible for the slow employment recovery and depressed labor supply,” he found in a study.

At least 26 states have ended the enhanced unemployment benefits included in the ARP. A state judge blocked Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan from ending the benefits on Tuesday.