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New York Times

The state reinstates rules requiring unemployment to look for jobs or lose profits

The belief in the US unemployment system was that anyone who collects benefits, good or bad, must look for a job. The quid proquare changed early in the pandemic. Due to the serious fear of transmission and the sudden increase in the need for millions of workers to become long-term caregivers, the state has lifted the requirement for practical and compassionate reasons. However, as vaccinations increased and the economy revived, more than half of all states reinstated job-seeking requirements. Arkansas and Louisiana did so a few months ago to drive workers out of rising unemployment. Others like Vermont and Kentucky have been going on in the last few weeks. Sign up for The Morning Newsletter for the New York Times. The rest may be on the way. President Joe Biden ordered the Ministry of Labor on Monday to “cooperate with the rest of the states as long as health and safety conditions permit,” setting requirements to ease the pandemic. Employers may welcome this move as it has the potential to expand the pool of job seekers. But for many workers, the search obligation is a premature declaration that the world has returned to normal, despite continued legitimate concerns about viral infections and childcare restrictions. “Looking for a job is a mess,” said Tyler Evans, 34, who lost his job at a restaurant in downtown Nashville, Tennessee for nearly four years. Evans doctors warn him that he is facing an additional risk of coronavirus because he has an autoimmune disease and does not allow him to work. However, according to Tennessee, Evans must complete job hunting three times a week to qualify for unemployment benefits. When he explained his situation to the people of the State Department of Labor, they suggested that they only said he was looking for a job. Because the state system had no way to explain health problems like him. Instead, Evans has been enthusiastic about applying for work every week — even if he couldn’t accept any of them. “I think someone will call me back once every four times,” he said. “And you would have to say,’Oh, I can’t really work for you for health reasons, but the Ministry of Labor asked me to do this anyway.'” The study said. It suggests some form of job search requirement in the normal economic era, allowing workers to find the next job and reduce unemployment time. However, the pandemic has added a new dimension to the debate about how to balance the presumption that unemployment is only temporary and the bailout. Most states discontinued unemployment benefits after 26 weeks. Business groups say regaining job search requirements can help boost the labor market and discourage workers from returning to their old employers or waiting for remote or higher-paying jobs. I will. Opponents argue that this mission does not allow an excessive number of Americans to continue to enjoy the benefits they need, as it can sometimes be difficult to meet difficult requirements, including documenting search activities. ing. They also said that when the pandemic reassessed their thinking about work, family needs and prospects, workers could be forced to apply for and accept low-paying or unsatisfied jobs. Says. “I think the job search requirements are necessary for economists,” said Marta Lachowska, economist at the WE Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Michigan. But she added, “Perhaps given the great turmoil in the labor market, people should be given some leeway.” In Washington, the problem became part of a major clash over unemployed profits and was exacerbated after a disappointing employment report in April. Republicans argue that Biden’s policies discourage people from looking for jobs and curb economic recovery. More and more Republican governors are moving to put the matter in their hands and end weekly $ 300 unemployment supplements and other federal-funded emergency aid. Biden rejected criticism of his economic recovery plan. But more than a year after the federal government instructed the states to abandon them, his acceptance of job-seeking requirements made this practice a pillar of economic revitalization efforts. Tim Goodrich, executive director of state government relations at the National Federation of Independent Business, complained that his members were struggling to fill the job openings. “They have a shortage of applicants, so job hunting is certainly helpful,” Goodrich said. The Ministry of Labor reported on Tuesday that the number of job vacancies in March increased to 8.1 million, but more than 8 million people work than before the pandemic. Economists have attributed some discrepancies to the temporary discrepancies between the jobs offered and the skills and background of those looking for a job. In today’s convalescent labor market, there may not be enough jobs suitable for those seeking reemployment, which can frustrate workers and drive them to apply for jobs unplanned. They say there is. So did Lee Wilson, 45, who was engaged in sales at a non-profit venue in New York City before he lost his job last summer. Wilson must apply for a job that he wouldn’t normally consider, such as a management assistant job, to meet New York’s job search requirements that unemployed applicants complete at least three job seekers each week. Said that. The prospect of accepting such a job makes her uneasy. “What if I was pulled in this direction just because I was forced to apply for these jobs? What would it look like to my career?” She said. .. This process took a long time. “In very stressful situations, it’s also a mental exhaustion because it’s pulled from literally every angle,” she said. Alexa Tapia, unemployment insurance campaign coordinator for the National Employment Law Project, a workers advocacy group, said job search requirements “do more harm than they help,” especially during a pandemic. In particular, she said such requirements would perpetuate systematic racism by confining people of color, especially women, to low-paying jobs with less benefit. And she said colored races are more likely to be denied benefits based on such requirements. The state unemployment office is already overburdened, so job search requirements are “another barrier imposed on claimants and can be a very depressing barrier,” she said. Added. In states that have reinstated job search requirements, worker advocates say a particularly frustrating obstacle is the lack of guidance. Suber Kowitz, director of the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, which works with low-income South Carolina citizens, said unemployed people in the state mainly want to return to work. However, she said, the information on job search requirements on the state’s website is so confusing that workers may not understand it. Before the state re-imposed the requirements last month, Berkowitz sent a marked copy of the proposed language to the Chief of Staff of the South Carolina Employment and Labor Department, urging explanations and changes. One of her biggest concerns was that the current language was 12th grade reading comprehension, while the typical reading comprehension level for adult Americans was much lower. She didn’t reply. “It was a cricket,” she said. In a broader sense, South Carolina employees with a minimum wage of $ 7.25 per hour may be reluctant to get lower-paying jobs than they were before the pandemic, Berkowitz said. .. “They aren’t much less likely to get a job, but their financial needs are high enough that they need to keep earning a certain salary,” she said. Job hunting requirements have become a political issue, but their recovery is not limited to partisan policies. In Florida, for example, the Republican governor maintained an exemption from looking for a job, but the state recently announced that it would reinstate the requirement at the end of the month. Many other states, especially Republican states, are in a hurry to regain job search requirements. It was discovered when they and Crysta San Martin, who uses their pronouns, quit their jobs due to health concerns at a dog boarding facility in Cypress, Texas, which reinstated job search requirements in November. .. San Martin, 27, said finding a position can be a hassle, as there are few jobs near them in the pet care industry. “It really made it harder for me to record a job search, because I simply didn’t have enough jobs that I really wanted to take for my career,” they said. The first job they applied for was a panela “not at all in my area of ​​interest.” Among other things, they said they found it dangerous to apply to arbitrary work because there was no way to evaluate the COVID-19 safety protocol of potential employers. San Martin then returned to his original job. “It’s pretty unfair,” they said. “It’s not safe to go out and cast a wide net to see if a random business takes you.” This article was originally published in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company