MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Wisconsin residents receiving unemployment insurance must now fulfill work search requirements that were temporarily suspended because of the economic effects of the pandemic.
A GOP-controlled legislative committee voted on May 19 to reinstate the requirements. The aim is to help an ongoing labor shortage in the state as it recovers from the pandemic.
“I would argue that that is why it is so imperative to get people out looking for work,” Sen. Steve Nass (R – Whitewater) said on May 19 about putting the requirements back in place.
It wasn’t that along ago that this would not have been controversial. We have 3.8% unemployment and it is not unreasonable to expect people who are being supported by the taxpayers in time of trouble to, at the very least, make an effort to get off the dole.
And while I feel sympathy for this lady, the answer is “yes.” The social bargain is not for taxpayers to support you until you find a job that you like or that is in your desired field. The social bargain is that the taxpayers will give you support until you find work – any kind of work – to support yourself. That may mean getting a job that you don’t like as you continue to look for the job you want.
Luz Sosa is an economist at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Prior to the pandemic, she worked full-time, but the effects of COVID-19 on the college forced her to go part-time. She has since been on partial unemployment. With the work search requirements, she is finding limited options to fulfill them as higher education employment has slowed and has yet to recover fully. Sosa believes this is a challenge for many others.
“How would that impact other people in other industries where there are no jobs in their industry?” Sosa told CBS 58 in an interview. “Are we all supposed to switch jobs, careers or make a life change just because of these work searches?”