Boots & Sabers

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1711, 16 May 21

States Adding Back Requirement to Seek Work

Be certain that those who have always opposed this requirement will use the pandemic as an excuse to prevent it from being reinstated. This is a simple social contract. We are generous people who are cool with helping out people who are out of work due to no fault of their own. But if you can’t work, then the the unemployment system isn’t for you. It isn’t supposed to be welfare. And if you don’t want to work, that’s on you. The rest of us aren’t going to pay able-bodied people to sit at home and play video games.

A tenet of the U.S. unemployment system has been that anyone collecting benefits, in good times and bad, must look for work.


That quid pro quo changed early in the pandemic. Profound fears of contagion and the sudden need for millions of workers to become caregivers led states to lift the requirements for reasons both practical and compassionate.


But as vaccinations increase and the economy revs back to life, more than half of all states have revived their work search requirements. Arkansas and Louisiana did so months ago in an effort to push workers off their swollen unemployment rolls. Others, like Vermont and Kentucky, have followed in the last few weeks.




Business groups say bringing back work search requirements will help juice the labor market and dissuade workers from waiting to return to their old employers or holding out for remote or better-paying jobs.


Opponents contend that the mandate keeps undue numbers of Americans from continuing to receive needed benefits because it can be hard to meet the sometimes arduous requirements, including documenting the search efforts. And they say workers may be forced to apply for and accept lower-paying or less-satisfying jobs at a time when the pandemic has caused some to reassess the way they think about their work, their family needs and their prospects.


1711, 16 May 2021


  1. Mike

    The pandemic was a golden opportunity to require people on unemployment to get educational credits and add value to their lives. There are plenty of opportunities for online earning to address COVID concerns.

  2. Mar

    And who will pay for it Mike? And is it really worth it for people to take basket weaving 101 or forcing people to diversity training and other liberal classes?

  3. jonnyv

    I have said for years that College (or career advancement) should be free.. for specific paths. Look at the next 5 years and estimate the needs and push those degrees / classes. Whether it be vocational or white collar. Programming, welding, engineering, nursing, etc. It is tough to predict what the needs will be in 10 years, but we can look at where the current needs are in business and try to incentivize people to pursue them. And if you want to go to college and take additional classes, those can be paid for out of pocket. A quick search shows that some of the most in-demand careers are:
    1. Home Health Aide ($12 / hour)
    2. Nursing Assistant ($14 / hour)
    3. Construction Worker ($15 / hour)
    4. Physical Therapy Aide
    5. Truck Driver
    6. Med Tech
    7. Financial Advisor

    Some of these require college, some don’t. How do you encourage people to take some of these jobs? Tax breaks? Better Salary? Free classes?

  4. Mar

    Johnnyv, for jobs 12,3,and 5, many employers offer free training and some offer to pay you while you work.
    As far as the medical jobs, you need a person who wants to work in those fields and not in it for just the pay.
    With the home health and CNA jobs, you have to be special kind of crazy, in a good way to do that job. Cleaning up pee and poop and other body fluids, killing your back, working every shift, holiday and weekend etc. You just can’t get anybody off the street to do the job.

  5. jonnyv

    Agreed Mar. I can’t believe how low paying jobs 1 & 2 are. A crap job, that few want to do, that requires that level of care should be 2x or 3x that pay (IMO).

  6. Mar

    Johnnyv, here, they are paid pretty well, about$15+ an hour.
    I remember doing the same job in 1979 for $2.35 an hour

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