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Expand chart
Data: Morning Consult; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

About 1.8 million out-of-work Americans have turned down jobs because of the generosity of unemployment insurance benefits, according to Morning Consult poll results released Wednesday.

Why it matters: U.S. businesses have been wrestling with labor supply shortages as folks capable of working have opted not to work for a variety of reasons.

  • One of the more politically controversial reasons has been the availability of unemployment insurance benefits, in particular emergency provisions that were introduced because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Indeed, 26 states opted to cut emergency benefits early with the intention of incentivizing people to take open jobs.

By the numbers: Morning Consult surveyed 5,000 U.S. adults from June 22-25, 2021.

  • Of those actively collecting unemployment benefits, 29% said they turned down job offers during the pandemic. In response to a follow-up question, 45% of that group said they turned down jobs specifically because of the generosity of the benefits.
  • Extrapolating from the 14.1 million adults collecting benefits as of June 19, Morning Consult concluded that 1.8 million people turned down job offers because of the benefits.

To be clear, this is in regards to any and all unemployment insurance benefits including the standard 26 weeks worth of benefits as well as the emergency benefits that are set to end by September.

  • Furthermore, all 1.8 million won’t necessarily find employment quickly as jobs once offered to them may have been filled by others.

What they’re saying: Morning Consult chief economist John Leer cautions against concluding that this completely validates calls to cut unemployment benefits early.

The bottom line: "Getting people to move from relying on unemployment insurance to wage income doesn't just automatically happen," Leer tells Axios. "There's going to be some searching and matching frictions at work."

Go deeper

John Frank, author of Denver
Sep 22, 2021 - Axios Denver

Defying the pandemic, Colorado sees an economic rebound

Expand chart
Data: Colorado Legislative Council Economic Outlook; Note: 2021 average is from September 2020 to August 2021; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The state's economy continues to show substantial growth even as coronavirus cases hit 2021 highs and inequities persist.

Why it matters: The dichotomy — revealed Tuesday in two economic forecasts — is driving how Colorado leaders respond to the pandemic and decide to allocate billions in state and federal relief.

Ina Fried, author of Login
11 mins ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

How COVID slowed 5G

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Two years into the 5G era, expensive new cellular networks have blanketed much of the country, but they have yet to change our lives.

Between the lines: It was always going to take some time for 5G's full impact — from faster service to new uses — to arrive. But the pandemic has slowed even some of the initial benefits.

Biden's big bet backfires

Two key dealmakers — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) — leave a luncheon in the Capitol yesterday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/L.A. Times via Getty Images

President Biden bit off too much, too fast in trying to ram through what would be the largest social expansion in American history, top Democrats privately say.

Why it matters: At the time Biden proposed it, he had his mind set on a transformational accomplishment that would put him in the pantheon of FDR and JFK.