In its study, Gusto compared hiring trends among service-sector small businesses in states that ended boosted jobless benefits on June 12, 2021, or June 19, 2021, with those states who are not ending that boost ahead of its early September expiration. And it found, for the most part, that employment growth in those states that ended boosted benefits has been comparable to employment growth in states that are keeping it in place for another month and change. Pulling the plug on boosted benefits may not have done the trick Cumulative headcount rose 11.6% since the start of April 2021 in states that ended boosted benefits early. In comparison, headcount rose 11.2% for states that didn’t pull the plug on enhanced benefits ahead of schedule. That’s not a very substantial difference.
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In an effort to motivate jobless workers to find a job, 26 states have tried to end boosted unemployment benefits early (they’re not set to expire until Labor Day). But some of those states were sued and forced to reinstate that boost. But still, in a number of states, that extra $300 a week has been gone since mid-June, late June, or early July. And unfortunately, a new report from payroll services company Gusto shows that ending boosted benefits early did not lead to much more hiring among small businesses.
What this tells us is that health concerns, especially among older workers, may be what’s keeping so many people out of the labor force — not the extra $300 a week they’ve been getting in their benefits. Another barrier that’s been keeping people from getting back to work is a lack of childcare. Once schools reopen for the upcoming academic year, we may see more unemployed people begin to apply for open positions. Cumulative headcount has risen 11% since the beginning of April 2021 in those states (where, on average, 34% of adults were fully vaccinated at the time), compared to 3% growth in states with an average vaccination rate of 27%.
AlaskaIowaNew HampshireNorth DakotaWest VirginiaWyoming Now here’s an interesting thing that Gusto did find. More older workers rejoined the labor force in the six states with the highest share of fully vaccinated adults at the time of its study:
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