Why you need to get back to work now – Even if you are earning more on Unemployment

   By: Dianne Labonte – Regional Business Development and Marketing Manager 

The Cares Act won’t last forever, expanded UE benefits won’t last forever, and we will be facing a very tight labor market.

There has been a lot of talk in the media about the average worker earning more on Unemployment than they did while working full time! So as the weather gets nicer and we all get more comfortable just staying home, what’s our motivation for returning to work?

Here are some things you should consider when making your decision.

Since March 15 of this year, a total of 897,205 Unemployment claim files reported in the State of Massachusetts alone. Combined numbers for the US are approximately 38.6 million. That number is higher than the combined population of 21 states.

These numbers are staggering. Unemployment benefits provide workers with a safety net in the event of a shutdown or layoff. The average payout benefit on Unemployment is about half of your earnings. The Cares Act expanded UE benefits with an additional provision of $600 per week, and extended benefits to those that otherwise would not qualify, including part-time, seasonal, self-employed, and contract workers.

These benefits will not last forever; Unemployment benefits typically last 26 weeks (seven states provide less than that, some areas like North Carolina and Florida only offer 12 weeks) The Cares Act added an additional 13 weeks. Consider now that we are three months into the pandemic, and the PUA $600 will end on July 31. Can you live on 50% of your pre-pandemic earnings?

Let’s take another look at the labor market. The pandemic caused or will cause many businesses to close despite the efforts of the government, the Unemployment rate is forecast to be at or around 14.6% in Late July (when the PUA benefits end) and the projected number of jobs lost in Massachusetts is forecast at 473,058. According to a study done by Goldman Sachs March 31, 2020, US Economic Analyst forecast Less than half the number of jobs will be available; this could potentially leave more than 50% of people without an open position.

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