Out Of Work

Unemployment Extension 2014 Poll: Half Of Americans Are Not Job Hunting, Most Refuse To Change Their Lives

The 2014 unemployment extension debate took an interesting twist when it was revealed that almost half of the unemployed Americans, including some who are still receiving unemployment benefits, are not even looking for a job in the first place.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, the original unemployment extension bill passed by the Senate would have extended benefits until June 1, 2014. But now that this date is a mere week away everyone agrees that it’s unlikely the House will bother passing it.

So now some Republicans and Democrats are working together to create a new unemployment extension bill they hope will meet the demands of John Boehner. Unfortunately for those who were cut off in December, the current plans by Senator Dean Heller currently do not include providing retroactive unemployment benefits, which would have meant that the money missed out in 2014 would have been paid in full. The focus for the new bill is mostly on the newly jobless and they’re also trying to figure out how to spur on job creation.

There have been arguments over whether letting the unemployment extension die would encourage people to look harder. For example, Diana Furchtgott-Roth at Real Clear Markets argued that letting the unemployment benefits die would help the economy:

“Americans who are employed or looking for a job rose four tenths of a percentage point between December and March, one of the fastest increases since the beginning of 2010. The number of unemployed out of work for more than 26 weeks declined by 110,000. One of the reasons was undoubtedly the end of emergency unemployment benefits.”

But Ben Casselman at FiveThirtyEight claims the opposite might be true, although the numbers are not statistically significant:

“In 2013, people who likely qualified for emergency benefits had a monthly job-finding rate of 12 percent. In the four months since the program ended, the job-finding rate for likely cutoff victims — people who would likely have qualified for extended benefits if the program had been renewed — was slightly higher, at 14 percent. But the difference isn’t statistically significant. Even if it holds up as more data comes in, it could be the result of the improving economy rather than the direct impact of the end of the emergency program. The end of the program might have had another effect, however: It may have made people less likely to keep trying to find jobs…. About 19 percent of cutoff victims have dropped out of the labor force each month this year, meaning they stopped actively looking for work. That’s a bit higher than the 16 percent who dropped out each month last year.”

According to a poll commissioned by staffing firm Express Employment Professionals, 47 percent of unemployed Americans claim they’ve simply given up on ever finding a job. Even when it comes to unemployment benefits, only 20 percent receive them in the first place while 33 percent are not eligible and another 30 percent never applied. Worse, around half say they have not had a job interview within the last month, and when it comes to those who have been unemployed for longer than two years this rate soars all the way to 71 percent.

The reasons for why people feel this case do have a similar theme. Not surprisingly, 45 percent blame the weak economy while 20 percent claim their last employer is at fault for their situation. Only 36 percent consider themselves personally responsible.

The poll also found that “many jobless Americans are reluctant to make significant changes to boost their chances of landing a job.” Almost two-thirds do not plan to further their education or to return to college and 44 percent refuse to relocate to a new city for any job.

The unemployment benefits are said to be “tamping down any sense of urgency.” Around 36 percent say they’ve spent less than five hours job hunting in the last week. Nearly 75 percent consider unemployment benefits to be a “cushion,” while half say they did not search as hard as they should have based upon receiving the benefits.

Assuming the poll holds true for most of the United States, how do you think the 2014 unemployment extension bill should be modified to reflect this reality?

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