DeBlog: Do Unemployment Benefits Discourage Job Seekers?

Tonight’s Good Question is a doozy. In light of the compromise to extend unemployment benefits (again), we’re wondering if getting unemployment benefits keeps people from actively looking for a job.

Yeah, when you get unemployment, you’re supposed to be looking for a job, but with the volume of people on the program right now, it’s not like there’s any real way for case workers to be on top of that.

Economist Diane Lim Rogers is with the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan think tank, and she told Markeplace on Public Radio: “I think that might be a legitimate argument to make if the economy were in much better shape than it is. I mean the simple fact is there’s just not enough jobs out there, the jobs aren’t there to turn down. So I think the worry that benefits prevent people from looking is way overblown right now.”

But realistically, if things look bad out there, and you’re guaranteed a check, doesn’t it make sense that you may not search as vigorously as you would without a check? The Labor Department reports job openings are at a 2-year high, there are a 3.4 million advertised openings.

What say you? I’ll use your comments in tonight’s 10 p.m. story.

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