A group of economists at Yale University have found no evidence that the $ 600 weekly unemployment benefits that the US Congress authorized in March have reduced employment.
The study results directly challenge a claim often made by Republican lawmakers and members of the Trump administration that additional unemployment payments decrease people’s desire to go back to work.
The expanded benefits of the CARES Act, a $ 2.2 trillion stimulus package approved in March, expired on July 31. And it’s not causing a wave of laziness, as many think.
The findings of the cited study suggested that taken together, the expanded benefits ‘neither encouraged layoffs during the onset of the pandemic nor deterred people from returning to work once businesses began to reopen.’
The researchers noted that workers who received larger increases in their unemployment benefits relative to their wages did not experience greater decreases in employment after the enactment of the CARES Act.
The researchers used weekly data from Homebase, a company that provides scheduling and software to small businesses in the United States. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago found a similar trend, according to MarketWatch.
“Those currently receiving benefits seek more than twice as much intensity as those who have exhausted their benefits,” noted the study, which was published in June.
The Chicago Fed study also noted that unemployment benefits generally last six months and that people are paid about 35% of their weekly wage on average.